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The Fourth of July holiday will look different this year, as fireworks shows across the nation have been cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic. But festive picnics and backyard barbecues will be going on as always, and there are plenty of ways your family can celebrate without compromising fun or safety.

  • Plan a bang-up backyard picnic. Fire up the grill for traditional burgers and hot dogs, but make this the year to try some less traditional grilled yummies. Bring out the sweetness of grilled banana halves and pineapple rings. Enjoy them with a fruity red punch, icy blue popsicles, watermelon and cupcakes frosted red, white and blue. 
  • Bring out the crafts. Get out the red, white and blue paints and have the whole family create patriotic décor for your backyard blitz. Let the kids color a white cloth or paper tablecloth with July Fourth artwork. Paint small flower pots with red, white and blue stripes and fill them with small American flags to use as table decor, or make your own vases out of painted popsicle sticks glued to small tins or jars. 
  • Set off fireworks where permitted. While civic shows are a no-go, you can stage your own show in cities and towns where fireworks are permitted (be aware, fines can be hefty if you set them off where not permitted). If you do stage a backyard display, be sure to take safety precautions: read and follow all directions. Wear safety goggles for protection. Discard used fireworks into a bucket full of water. Confer with neighbors so you don’t duplicate efforts for the whole neighborhood to enjoy.
  • Light up some sparklers. Sparklers can light up the night sky pretty spectacularly and more safely than fireworks, making them a bright and fun alternative. Be sure to light them in a clear, flat area, keep the users several feet apart and have a bucket of water available for the discards.