Another month of quarantine, another holiday to go with it. So far you’ve planned stay at home family events for Easter, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, and most recently Father’s Day, and you’ve done it with a smile.
It’s July now, and that means that someone in your neighborhood is setting off fireworks nightly, and you’ve just realized you need to put something together for the 4th of July. Not to worry, we’ve got you covered.
While most city or state organized events have been cancelled (check your city’s website or social media pages, you might be located somewhere these are still going on) there are some options out there. All you will need is some basic supplies, some ambition, and some good old fashioned can-do-attitude.
First of all, here are the popular events that are closed or cancelled locally in the Portland Metro area –
Portland Waterfront Blues Festival and Fireworks
Fort Vancouver Fireworks Spectacular
Oaks Park Fireworks
St Paul Rodeo
If you were planning to head west to the coast or east to the gorge, bad news there. These cities have cancelled public firework displays and events –
If you’re in the mood for a scenic drive down one of Oregon’s historic highways, Bend and The Dalles are both doing large fireworks displays, although neither have a public gathering place. Information on how and where to view either show are limited online, so your best bet is to head over and ask a local business owner (after purchasing something and tipping extra) where you might watch from without breaking any rules or curfews.
If a lot of driving is not what you see in your future to celebrate this holiday, consider planning a fun day at any of the above mentioned locales for another day (maybe Sunday) and stay close to home on Saturday. Make sure to hit the grocery store Friday or very early Saturday to load up on BBQ essentials, stop at a local fireworks stand for some family friendly (and safe/legal) entertainment that requires igniting, and don’t forget the sunscreen as you likely haven’t seen the sun much (not for prolonged exposure anyway). If you haven’t checked the status of your backyard grille yet, make sure you have a grille that works and ignites – and has a good amount of propane or coals. A grille that won’t light or is short on fuel is no way to spend this particular day.
Want to give your kids the ultimate cook-out and camp-out this 4th of July? Prepare your BBQ feast as you normally would, and then get a clean bed sheet (preferably a lighter color for backdrop) either a DIY shoebox smartphone projector or one purchased at a specific store, hook it up (or stream audio) to a speaker or sound bar, and you’ll have the perfect small budget drive-in theater for your backyard. Show your family’s favorite movie that includes fireworks. Or show any movie fitting the occasion and make sure it ends or at least has intermission around 10pm so you can play a live show on local news, or a video of your favorite display from any past events. If you happened to purchase some of your own fireworks, now is the time to enjoy those also.
Then make sure the tent is set up, the fire pit is ready, and enjoy some s’mores before calling it a night. On second thought, if your movie of choice wasn’t “The Sandlot”, I’ve got some questions for you, it has everything you need for this stay home holiday, and nothing you don’t.
And that’s just about all, folks. Make sure no matter what you do, that you plan something fun and safe, wear a mask or face covering if you go to a public place, and do what you can to create the stay home 4th of July holiday that is everything your family deserves. And most important of all – make sure it goes off with a bang.
Stay safe and have fun everyone. Happy 4th of July, and happy birthday America.
Casey Mabbott is a husband and parent first, and also an experienced and dedicated writer and researcher. Born and raised in the Portland area, when Casey is not spending time with his family gallivanting around Portland and the surrounding areas, he genuinely enjoys helping people (especially families) find the “hidden gems” in the Pacific Northwest. In today’s world of lightning fast information at our fingertips, it’s truly a wonder to stumble across a place, an experience, or an activity you’ve never heard of.