Although celebrations in 2021 have largely been reduced (or even canceled) due to the COVID-19 pandemic, fortunately, there finally seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel. Through the collaborative efforts of American scientists and companies, the pandemic restrictions are finally starting to lift—just in time to celebrate the Fourth of July!
Every year, Independence Day is a reminder of the courage, heroism, and values that led to the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776, and the creation of the United States of America. This July 4th, communities all over Orange Country are planning to throw celebrations in honor of the struggle, sacrifice, and efforts of American heroes, both past and present.
Thanks to their valiant efforts, we’re able to continue to ensure the continuing security of the Republic and its values of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Here are six of the can’t-miss events in the area to check out this year.
Check Out a Local Fireworks Display
All across Orange County, communities are once again making preparations for their traditional Fourth of July fireworks display that many regions had to cancel last year due to pandemic restrictions. There is no better feeling than settling down on a cozy blanket outside in a park or bench with friends, family, and loved ones and watching the brilliantly colored sparks light up the night sky.
Most Orange County cities are planning to have organized fireworks displays that begin at 9:00 PM, so be sure to do your research and get to the location early in order to snag the best spot to see the show. Snacks and drinks are a great addition to enjoy the show with, as well as to satiate any children who will inevitably declare they’re hungry minutes before the light show starts.
If you’d rather purchase and host your own firework show instead, you’ll be happy to know that this year Orange County authorities have permitted personal firework displays, as well. All purchased fireworks must be approved by the CA State Fire Marshal’s Office and cities within Orange County each have designated times during which fireworks are permitted to be discharged.
Anaheim, Buena Park, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Stanton, and Westminster allow fireworks between 10:00 AM and 10:00 PM on July 4th, while Huntington Beach, Villa Park, and Saint Ana allow fireworks to be lit between 12:00 PM and 10:00 PM. Costa Mesa permits fireworks between July 2nd and July 4th until 10:00 PM at night.
As you can see, the times in which fireworks are permitted vary by jurisdiction, so it’s important that you do your research beforehand. That way, your at-home fireworks show isn’t interrupted by an angry visit from the fire department.
Be sure to research and utilize fire safety protocols and keep all children away from fireworks, without exception. Fireworks are explosives, and although they may be pretty to look at, it’s extremely important to exercise caution and safe practices when using them. In turn, you can avoid an unfortunate visit to the hospital due to an unexpected accident.
Movies Under the Moon in Anaheim
While fireworks are a Fourth of July classic, if you’d prefer to change things up with some different entertainment this Independence Day, there are a variety of other options in the Orange County area. The Movies Under the Moon event in Anaheim commemorates the Fourth of July with two outdoor screenings of classic American films like Shrek and Independence Day (get it?) in a carpool cinema experience unlike any other.
While drive-in theatres were extremely popular in America once upon a time, nowadays, the experience of sitting in your car with your loved ones on a cool summer night under the stars is a sadly largely forgotten one. Movies Under the Moon in Anaheim is a film-watching experience unlike any other, and no doubt, an incredible way to spend this Fourth of July.
Visit the Annual County Fair in Brea
The County Fair happens on July 4th in the city of Brea, and it’s a fantastic way to spend the day, before moving on to nighttime fireworks show or any other celebration to end the day. The fair offers an All-American pancake breakfast, which starts at 7:00 AM, while the fair officially opens at 10:00 AM.
Activities include a kiddie parade to delight any young children in the family, a Bow Wow contest for dog lovers, as well as a craft area, delicious American fair food, live entertainment, games, and exhibits for visitors of all ages and interests. There’s also a swimming pool that opens at 11:00 AM, which offers some watery fun and a chance to cool off, all for just a $3 ticket.
Take an Evening at the Pacific Amphitheatre
If you’re a music lover, consider skipping the annual run-of-the-mill fireworks in favor of the Pacific Amphitheatre in Costa Mesa. The Pacific Symphony’s July 4th Spectacular is an annual event filled with patriotic songs to get you in the spirit of Independence Day, followed by a dazzling fireworks display. As an added bonus, the amphitheater offers ample seating, rather than forcing you to stand or sit on the ground like most public outdoor fireworks events.
Drive to Huntington Beach
The city of Huntington Beach is home to the largest Fourth of July Parade in Orange County. The parade consists of a beautiful caravan of floats that will begin traveling through city neighborhoods bright and early on Independence Day morning. This is followed by a city-wide decorating contest, as well as a festival at Pier Plaza, with a variety of different unique American vendors.
There is also a Ferris wheel to overlook the beautiful festivities from high up, as well as a 12,000 square foot beer and wine garden for adults to enjoy. A 5K minimarathon is also planned to happen at the same time to celebrate the event, with fireworks over the ocean to cap the whole day off.
Rancho Santa Margarita Virtual Star-Spangled Spectacular
While many people are eager to celebrate Independence Day in person this year, for many individuals who are particularly at-risk for COVID-19, who haven’t had the opportunity to receive a vaccine, or who simply wish to be a little more cautious, there are a variety of virtual events planned in Orange County, as well. In Rancho Santa Margarita, a virtual 4th of July celebration is planned.
This event is complete with a memory reel of past events, a singing competition in which the winner gets to sing the Star-Spangled Banner for the entire audience, and a patriotic house decorating contest.
Celebrating Independence Day in Orange County
As you can see, all of Orange County is hopefully optimistic that the Fourth of July can be celebrated properly this year after such a long and trying time. Despite these hopeful prospects, however, it’s important to remember that the pandemic is still ongoing. With that in mind, participants at Fourth of July events should be careful to wear appropriate protection such as masks and face coverings, even if they’ve received one vaccine dose.
Also, all the events outlined here are planned tentatively and subject to change. It’s best to be sure to keep up to date with the latest news and do your research before making fixed plans. That way, you can make sure events are actually happening before you leave, and avoid any unwanted disappointment that may arise due to sudden cancelations.