Last year, like many folks, the 4th of July came and went much the same as a lot of days – it just blended into the days around it. We were being asked to avoid hosting and attending large gatherings, the public fireworks displays were canceled, and many people were still trying to find toilet paper, let alone meat to grill. 

This year, things are different. Today is not only July 1st, but it’s also the first complete day of (mostly) the end of the pandemic in the state of Oregon. Mask and social distancing mandates and many other covid related restrictions have been lifted, and those who were waiting patiently for the freedom to rub shoulders with strangers  – your time is now.

But how are you going to celebrate, especially after the state just experienced a heatwave of historic proportions? Safely and carefully – that’s how. You’re not going to start a wildfire the length of the Columbia Gorge, for example. To avoid another summer filled with danger, the city of Portland and quite a few others have banned fireworks from being used other than by those with a permit. Since we’re going to leave the fireworks to the professionals, where do you go for such amazing displays of patriotic wonder? 

For starters, you can attend the Portland Blues Festival, but you’ll need to head elsewhere for fireworks. As of right now, the city has canceled its waterfront fireworks event, and so has Fort Vancouver across the water. 

Oaks Park has canceled their show, and so has Lake Oswego. And that’s it for the bad news, now let’s take a look at events that are taking place!

Bend – The 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular will take place at Pilot Butte as planned and will be, yes, spectacular. Food, fun, games, live music, more food, and amazing fireworks. It’s a whole day, and you don’t want to miss it. 

Hood River/The Dalles – You really can’t miss with either of these events. Both cities will host parades with food and beverage vendors and cap the night off with a major fireworks display. What more can you ask for? Oh right, a great view of the Gorge. Not to worry – they both have that. 

Silverton – The Oregon Garden hosts an annual show on July 3rd but has not confirmed if they will be holding it this year. Check their website for tickets and info on if the show will indeed go on or be canceled. 

Hillsboro Hops – The Hops host the Eugene Emeralds on Sunday evening, and they are expected to display fireworks during the game. 

St Paul Rodeo – Your favorite rodeo is running all weekend long and showing off fireworks each night. Get your tickets now and enjoy a fun event for the whole family. 

West Linn – The city will host a concert and fireworks display at Willamette Park but will not have food or beverage vendors. 

If you’re trying to skip fireworks, we totally get it. Many folks have trouble with the loud bangs, especially many veterans who have PTSD. These folks have put themselves through hell and back protecting our freedoms; they have more than earned the comfort of a night of peace and quiet. 

Cannon Beach – Despite the name, this will be a haven for those needing a quiet place. Cannon Beach will not host a fireworks show and has banned them on the beach. So take a scenic drive to the coast and enjoy the waves and scenery without the trouble of unexpected pops. 

Newberg Drive-In – You sit in your car, enjoy a pair of movies, and have complete control over the volume. What more could you ask for? The only explosions will be from the movies themselves or the flavor packed into each sip of cola and a handful of popcorn. They are showing the latest Fast and Furious movie first with Blues Brothers to follow. Not a bad way to spend a second Saturday night. 

Mount Hood – This is the perfect time to visit the great outdoors. And we don’t mean the movie, although that would be a fun way to spend the 4th. Get to your favorite campground, set up the tent, and take in the stars over a fire with smores and cold beverages. Maybe a card game, we don’t know if you’ll have enough time before the peaceful serenity takes over and you snooze away the rest of the night. With burn bans all over the mountain, only someone with malice in their heart would dare to set off fireworks on our beloved mountain.