Orange County Offers Creative Alternatives to Fourth of July Celebrations Amid Coronavirus

JULIE LEOPO, Voice of OC

Balboa Island in Newport Beach on Jun. 30, 2020.

This year’s outdoor Fourth of July festivities have been restricted by Coronavirus as some businesses are still closed and large gatherings have been put to a halt to adhere with social distancing guidelines. 

However, the pandemic has sparked considerable creativity as many people have been finding new ways to celebrate with drive-throughs and virtual gatherings.

Fourth of July will still be celebrated with events throughout the county, and we’re here to give you options to enjoy the occasion with a bite to eat and help you mark the occasion via your computer, in your car or in your back yard. 

Orange County’s Pacific Symphony’s Virtual July 4 Spectacular

In place of their usual performances onstage, Pacific Symphony has been taking advantage of virtual alternatives, and a Fourth of July celebration will be its next big performance to be viewed on screens everywhere.

Pacific Symphony will be performing several patriotic favorites including John Williams’ “Midway March” and Peter Boyer’s “Ellis Island: The Dream of America.” The show will conclude with virtual fireworks. 

The program is dedicated to frontline healthcare workers and in recognition of the Pacific Symphony’s most generous patrons, Charlie and Ling Zhang.

When: July 4, but can be viewed until Aug. 18 

Where: https://www.pacificsymphony.org/tickets/concert/virtualjuly4/

Time: 6 p.m. 

4th of July Flyover

Three WWII-era aircraft will be flying over the cities of Orange, Buena Park and La Habra in celebration of the holiday, and to honor service men and women. A C-47 Skytrain and two Marchetti SF-260s will be departing from John Wayne Airport. The planes are expected to fly over Orange at about 2 p.m., make their way to Buena Park by about 2:15 p.m., and end their flyover over La Habra at about 2:30 p.m. They should be visible for up to five minutes in each location.

The program is in collaboration with the Lyon Air Museum and Air Combat USA and the cities of Orange, Buena Park and La Habra

When: July 4 

City of Orange – 3rd of July Celebration

The City of Orange, like many other California cities, is taking to virtual platforms for its Independence Day celebrations this year. While it is not hosting any gatherings per current health guidelines and recommendations, it plans to uplift the community via social media. 

“2020 would have been the 25th 3rd of July event, and while we are all very disappointed that we won’t be gathering together as a community, we still wanted to do something that honored the spirit of our Annual Independence Day Celebration,” said Paul Sitkoff, public affairs and information manager for the city of Orange via email. 

The City of Orange invites residents of Orange to submit photos or videos of last year’s celebrations to its Instagram or Facebook pages or via email. 

The city encourages residents to submit images that fall under the theme of “How does Orange Red, White, and Blue?” or use the hashtag #HowDoesOrangeRedWhiteandBlue on Facebook or Instagram. 

These photos and videos will be incorporated into a virtual presentation with songs performed under the direction of Michael Short by the Orange Community Master Chorale. The Virtual 3rd of July Independence Day Celebration will be available to watch on July 3 from the city’s Facebook page, YouTube channel, and website.

Movies Under The Moon in Anaheim

For those who are looking for a less traditional way of celebrating 4th of July, Moonlight Events OC is coming to you with a socially distanced carpool cinema experience. 

Guests are invited to attend a drive-in movie theater experience at the City National Grove of Anaheim, where both concessions and restrooms will be available on-site and regulated through a mobile app. Two of America’s most patriotic films will be playing: Shrek and Independence Day. 

Tickets went on sale on June 17 and can be bought here. According to Moonlight Events OC, all proceeds will go to COVID-19 relief funds. Children under 5 are free.

When: July 3 – 4

Where: 2200 E Katella, Anaheim CA 92806

Time: Shrek – 7:20 p.m., Independence Day – 10:30 p.m.

Laguna Niguel 4th of July Cavalcade

Laguna Niguel has been getting into the 4th of July spirit with a series of activities recommended by the city for residents. According to their flyer, residents are encouraged to participate in a 4th of July home decorating contest, bike decorating contest, small American flag distribution, 4th of July Cavalcade, and more. 

Due to COVID-19 and local and federal health regulations, the city has cancelled the following events: YMCA Run in the Parks, Chamber of Commerce Pancake Breakfast, concert and fireworks show. 

The 4th of July Cavalcade procession, one of the city’s more prominent events, can be observed from one of Laguna Niguel’s parks on the Cavalcade route. 

Laguna Niguel’s celebrations will conclude with a video presentation celebrating America and Laguna Niguel life, featuring past events, patriotic music and city landmarks. The video will be featured on the city’s Facebook and Youtube sites and will begin at 9 p.m. on the 4th. 

When: July 4

Where: Cavalcade Route Map

Time: 10 a.m.

OneHB Neighborhood Parade

Huntington Beach’s famous 4th of July parade usually takes place on Pacific Coast Highway and Main Street. Due to COVID-19 and health guidelines, the parade will now tour through Huntington Beach neighborhoods, saluting a “Front Yard 4th of July.” 

“We were at a crossing point to decide whether to cancel everything or do something else to honor this longstanding tradition of the 4th of July celebration in Huntington Beach,” said Chris Cole, the community services manager for the city of Huntington Beach. 

The event was originally planned to include a pancake breakfast, a pier plaza festival and other outdoor festivities.

However, now it will feature parade favorites such as a caravan of elected officials, public safety vehicles, veterans, high school seniors and other community dignitaries. 

The exact tour route will be released here the morning of July 4th, so people can grab their lawn chairs and enjoy the show in their neighborhood. 

When: July 4

Where: South Huntington Beach to North Huntington Beach

Time: 8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Firework Shows

La Habra Fourth of July Fireworks 

Along with the 4th of July Flyover, the city of La Habra will continue to have its annual fireworks show. Although La Bonita Park will be closed, watchers can still enjoy the show from the safety and comfort of their backyards. The city of La Habra will also be live streaming music for the fireworks show at 8:50 p.m. at www.titanradio.org/lahabrajuly4

When: July 4

Where: 1440 West Whittier Blvd., La Habra, CA

Time: 8:50 p.m.

Los Alamitos Drive-Up Fireworks Show

When: July 4 

Where: Los Alamitos Joint Forces Training Base

Time: Gates open at 7:15 p.m., show starts at 9 p.m.

Attendees must enter through the Lexington Gate (Lexington and Katella) or Orangewood Gate (Orangewood and Los Alamitos Blvd.) by vehicle only (no pedestrians or bicycles) and will go through a check-in procedure before entering. The facility will be checking for I.D.s and conducting health screenings for every person in each vehicle. 

Guests are advised to arrive an hour before the show starts and to stay in their vehicles at all times, except for walking to the public restrooms. All visitors must practice social distancing when necessary and wear face masks from their arrival until their departure from the event.  

More information about rules and safety procedures can be found here.

Dana Point 4th of July Fireworks Show

With limited parking at Dana Hills High School and other streets in the area, the city will be offering a free bus service from 10 a.m. till 11 p.m. to Dana Point Harbor, where bus pick-up will be located on Golden Lantern, which is on the north side of the harbor between Acapulco and Stonehill. 

When: July 4

Where: Dana Point Harbor

24650 Dana Point Harbor Drive

Dana Point, California 92629 

Time: 9 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.

Kristina Garcia is an intern for Voice of OC Arts & Culture. She can be reached at [email protected].

Kim Pham is an intern for Voice of OC Arts & Culture. She can be reached at [email protected].