Los Angeles County

Coronavirus Pandemic Forces Big Changes To LA County Independence Day Events

What is likely the day's only parade in Los Angeles County will begin at 1 p.m. on Santa Catalina Island with accommodations for social distancing.

Essentially all events planned in Los Angeles County Saturday to mark the 244th anniversary of the nation's independence have either been canceled or switched to a virtual format because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Grand Park + The Music Center's 4th of July Block Party was billed last year as Los Angeles County's largest July Fourth event. It has been rebranded as Grand Park + The Music Center's 4th of July Block Party: Home Edition.

It will be simulcast by Los Angeles County's public access Channel 36. The 8-10 p.m. portion will be streamed on Grand Park's and The Music Center's digital channels.

The event will be headlined by rapper and songwriter D Smoke, the 2019 winner of Netflix's music competition series, "Rhythm & Flow." The Inglewood native will perform songs from his debut album, "Black Habits."

Other musical performers will include soulstress San Cha, bedroom pop singer Ginger Root and dancehall performer Amindi. There will also be improv and sketch routines performed by Filipino American comedians from Filipino AF and a plant-based street tacos cooking demonstration from chef Jocelyn Ramirez, owner of Todo Verde in East Los Angeles.

The remainder of the program features Los Angeles-based personalities sharing their personal stories and cultural perspectives of what it means to be an Angeleno.

The park will remain open Saturday as it has been a central site for civil demonstrations. However, there will be no programming presented or traditional fireworks.

The 94th annual AmericaFest Celebration will be an hourlong virtual event from 2-3 p.m. focused around legacy and community-building, featuring celebrations of U.S. veterans and military personnel, messages from Pasadena residents thanking first responders, frontline workers and their personal heroes for their work during the coronavirus pandemic and a salute to America with a message about why the Fourth of July is celebrated.

The event will conclude with a flyover of Pasadena and its most historic landmarks that will be viewable from many Pasadena homes, and streamed online.

The AmericaFest Celebration will be streamed on the Rose Bowl Stadium's Facebook & YouTube pages.

What is likely the day's only parade in Los Angeles County will begin at 1 p.m. on Santa Catalina Island with accommodations for social distancing.

Instead of its customary parade, Independence Day will be marked in Pacific Palisades by a 2 p.m. community-wide flyover by a squadron of World War II fighter planes.

At least two Fourth of July runs will be held on a virtual basis -- the Village Runner 4th of July 5K in Redondo Beach and San Marino's JP Blecksmith Memorial Virtual 5K.

Lakewood is encouraging residents to join in a "Candlelight for Community" moment in their front yards at 8:30 p.m. by lighting a candle and singing "God Bless America." A live performance of the song written by Irving Berlin will be streamed on the city's Facebook page at 8:30 p.m.

City officials are hoping this showing of community solidarity through a candlelighting ceremony brings all residents closer, despite the need for social distancing to avoid spreading the coronavirus.

Lancaster will attempt to challenge the fireworks ban imposed Monday by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. The City Council will hold an emergency meeting today to consider Mayor R. Rex Parris' request for authority to issue a permit and sign a contract with a fireworks vendor for a show set for 9 p.m. Saturday.

"The city has considered all risks and feels confident in our ability to safely host a show," Parris wrote on the city's Facebook page. "A show our residents deserve after a year of continuing challenges."

Despite the absence of traditional events "we can still commemorate the day meaningfully by barbecuing the same meals our loved ones have made for generations, listening to patriotic songs, decorating our homes in red, white and blue and spending time with family members closest to us," Supervisor Kathryn Barger, the chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, told City News Service.

To Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, "in this unique moment the best way to spend time during this Independence Day is at home with family. It's the most important way we can collectively get past this."

Said Supervisor Sheila Kuehl: "This is a difficult time for people in Los Angeles, and across the nation. In challenging times, we need to dig down and find strength. The days of the American revolution weren't easy either, and one of the great intellectuals of that time, a woman named Mercy Otis Warren wrote, 'The waves have rolled upon me, the billows are repeatedly broken over me, yet I am not sunk down.' She found resilience in times of trouble."

"As we find new ways to celebrate and safely enjoy this Fourth of July, I hope people will take a moment to think about what restores them and makes them hopeful, and to remember this nation's most cherished principles. Though we still have a long way to go, let's recommit ourselves to achieving this country's promise of  equality and justice for all."

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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