City officials encourage Orange County residents to enjoy Fourth of July at home
Fourth of July celebrations normally bring people together to celebrate the birth of the United States but like many things lately, the holiday will be different this year.
Officials from Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Costa Mesa and Laguna Beach are hoping that residents will choose to celebrate from home to prevent spread of the coronavirus.
And longstanding traditions, such as Huntington Beach’s Fourth of July festivities, will not look the same. The beaches in Huntington, Newport and Laguna will be also closed on Saturday and Sunday.
“Our whole Fourth of July celebration is such a tradition in Huntington Beach, so important to us,” Huntington Beach Mayor Lyn Semeta said. “We’ve had this parade since 1904 consecutively, so yes, we’re going to have a parade, but it’s definitely modified.
“It won’t be on Main Street. Instead, we’re going to have two vehicle caravans that are going to travel on separate routes throughout the city. We’re bringing the parade to the neighborhoods.”
To discourage gathering, the parade routes will not be released until 5 a.m. on Saturday. The exact routes will be accessible at hb4thofjuly.org. The “OneHB Neighborhood Parade,” as it is being called, will travel throughout the city between 8 a.m. and noon.
Newport Beach, Huntington Beach and Laguna Beach announced Thursday that they would also be shutting down their beaches on Sunday. Orange County will also close its beaches.
Some of the entertainment in the parades will include a performance by local singer Olivia Ooms, an appearance by local professional surfer Brett Simpson, and the inclusion of famous movie vehicles, including the Ghostbusters Ecto-1, Jurassic Park jeeps, and the car “KITT” from the television show Knight Rider.
Parade viewers are asked to socially distance and wear face coverings.
The Surf City Run and the city’s fireworks show will not happen this year.
“I was saddened to hear that the race was canceled, especially after last year [finishing first and second] with my brother, [Jason],” said Ryan St. Pierre, the defending champion in the residents’ 5K race. “It’s an event I look forward to all year and was so bummed it wasn’t happening.”
St. Pierre added that he has run the Surf City 5K for eight consecutive years.
Newport Beach will have its annual “Old Glory Boat Parade” in Newport Harbor from 1 to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday. The theme of the parade will be “Honoring Our Frontline Heroes.”
Safe and sane fireworks are available for purchase in Huntington Beach and Costa Mesa.
“We are encouraging families to stay home this year and avoid crowds,” Costa Mesa Mayor Katrina Foley said. “It’s the best way to show your patriotism this year.”
Costa Mesa will allow safe and sane fireworks sales from June 30 through July 4 and permit the discharge of legal fireworks from July 2 through the holiday, with certain restrictions.
“Particularly on the Fourth of July when there were fireworks ... it looked like sardines in a can,” Laguna Beach Mayor Pro Tem Steve Dicterow said in addressing the closure. “There was no space in between people. My concern is that even without the fireworks, there just may be a huge density of people on the beaches.”
Laguna Beach Mayor Bob Whalen anticipates a quiet holiday in his city with the beaches closed for the weekend and no fireworks. He said there will be a World War II vintage plane flyover. The Condor Squadron flyover will feature five AT-6 aircraft over Orange County’s coastal cities in the late afternoon.
The schedule for the flyover is as follows (all times are approximate): Huntington Beach, 5:25 p.m.; Newport Beach, 5:35 p.m.; Laguna Beach, 5:45 p.m.; Dana Point, 5:50 p.m.; San Clemente, 5:55 p.m.
“This is a different Fourth for all of us, but I hope that we all take a few moments away from the crowds to reflect on what a great country we live in and how many people made sacrifices to give us the freedoms that we cherish,” Whalen said. “We are all now called upon to make some small sacrifices to defeat the coronavirus, and if we do, we will be back to enjoying all the freedoms that our forebears guaranteed to us more than 240 years ago.”
Wednesday’s order applies to 19 counties where virus infections and hospitalizations have surged. In Orange County, 570 new infections and 542 hospitalizations were reported.
The Los Alamitos Joint Forces Training Base will have a drive-up firework show at 9 p.m. on Saturday. The gates will open at 7:15 p.m., with vehicles being allowed to enter through the gates at Lexington Drive and Orangewood Avenue. All adults must have valid ID.
Temperature checks will be taken at the gate, and every person in the car must wear a face covering at all times. No alcohol or pets are permitted at the event.
The city of Fountain Valley will have preferential permit parking in effect for the Fourth of July, a step regularly taken to address parking overflow from Mile Square Park and Centennial Park on particular holidays.
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