Since clearly there is no other news outlet talking about the effects of COVID-19 and people are not sick of hearing about it at all, let’s discuss it.

The virus has become a challenge for communities planning their Independence Day festivities. How do you celebrate freedom while still encouraging everyone to act as though they are on house arrest?

Well, it’s not easy when you feel like beloved traditions are being burned to the ground.

Take the parade. 

No matter what form the parade takes, candy will not be thrown to children. A New England Journal of Medicine study stated during a pandemic, taffy could be one of the top 500 mediums for spreading viral infection. It ranked right between eating stuff dropped on the floor after the five-second rule and not socially distancing at bikini carwashes.

So just forget it. Do not throw candy during the parade. However, you can still throw shards of broken glass at the neighbor kids. 

Another change that may come about is instead of the parade making it’s way down the street, entries could be parked in the center turning lane and people will be encouraged to drive by them. 

This standing parade format will be fun. Instead of a prize being given to the best float, there will be a medal awarded to the person who clocks the fastest time driving past the parade entries.

Another great tradition being affected by coronavirus is the Liberty 5K. Usually this race draws upwards of 300 people who want to start their holiday off by working up a sweat. While the funk of body odor is a good thing for promoting social distancing, cramming all those people together represents a potential health risk. So instead of running the race, everyone is encouraged to give up showering for the week leading up to and including the Fourth of July.

The park will not have its usual assortment of booths selling drinks, food, candles and other refreshments. However, there will still be entertainment on the stage. 

The city will not be providing seating for the show, as it would be required to sanitize its cache of hundreds of plastic chairs. Let’s be honest, some of those chairs haven’t seen the cleaning end of a hose for the better part of 20 years — coronavirus may be the least of your concerns sitting on them.

Instead, people are encouraged to bring their own dirty chairs. It’s the way the founding fathers would have wanted it.

The annual children’s parade is also likely a no-go this year, much to the relief of parents. Instead, children are encouraged to wait until the hottest part of the day and ride their bike until they feel like passing out. At that point they will be offered a Popsicle. It will be water flavored as all other flavors of Popsicle have been banned due to coronavirus. 

Since there won’t be any vendors on the park selling food, people are encouraged to serve cold hamburgers, room temperature potato salad and warm drinks at their own homes. If you feel bad because your family is missing out on cotton candy, just rub corn syrup on your children’s hands, clothing and hair and chew on some fiberglass insulation. 

The horse races will continue as usual. However, patrons are asked to please use Venmo when paying their bookies instead of cash. Bookies are also asked to use longer crowbars when breaking kneecaps in order to comply with social distancing measures.

Fortunately, fireworks will not be affected by any changes. People are encouraged to start as many fires as they normally would with irresponsible use of fireworks. However, please wear a mask to protect the firefighters when they show up to stop your house from burning to the ground.

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