COVID-friendly Fourth fun you can watch on TV
Here comes another big date on the calendar that won't be quite what we've come to expect from years past. Gone are the traditional suburban festivals and their fireworks shows, though some towns will have alternative or modified offerings in this year of COVID-19.
But there are plenty of us who don't feel like leaving the house this Fourth of July. (Well, or any Fourth of July, to be honest.) So, assuming you haven't had your fill of all those late-night explosions from the last month or so, how can you enjoy some Fourth fun from the living room this year?
Navy Pier won't be lighting up, but the city of Chicago will present a free livestream 6:30 p.m. Saturday at grantparkmusicfestival.com. The program includes last year's performance enhanced with "stunning footage filmed in some of the most awesome vistas around the United States," and of course includes the "1812 Overture" and "Stars and Stripes Forever."
The PBS tradition returns for its 40th year at 7 p.m. Saturday on WTTW Channel 11. Hosts John Stamos and Vanessa Williams will present pretaped performances by Patti LaBelle, John Fogerty, The Temptations, Chrissy Metz and more. The show will end with live coverage of Washington, D.C.'s fireworks display.
A greatest-hits program from one of the country's most famous orchestras will be presented at 7 p.m. Saturday on Bloomberg Television, Bloomberg Radio and online at bloomberg.com/live/us. Guest performers include Rita Moreno, Arlo Guthrie, Queen Latifah and Leslie Odom Jr. -- whom you can also watch this weekend in "Hamilton" on Disney+. It ends with a "retrospective fireworks extravaganza."
Spectacular fireworks light up Walt Disney World nearly every single night when we're not in a pandemic, but the Magic Kingdom goes all out for Independence Day. There are hundreds of videos of the annual blowout that culminates in shells being launched from nine different locations around the park and the adjacent Seven Seas Lagoon; You can find some of my favorites on the YouTube channels 4K WDW and The Tim Tracker.
Bonus: The Burj Khalifa
No, the famous structure in Dubai does not mark the occasion of American independence, but you can't talk about fireworks without mentioning the mind-blowing New Year's display that seems to emanate from within the 2,700-foot skyscraper that Tom Cruise scaled in "Mission: Impossible -- Ghost Protocol." Check out a video of this year's show on the Global News YouTube channel (search "global news new year's dubai").
• Sean Stangland is an assistant news editor at the Daily Herald who is probably watching "Hamilton" right now.