South Valley residents know July 4 is more than just a traditional celebration of parades and fireworks

Opinion of Gilroy Life

Throughout the United States this summer, the traditional parades and firework shows that help us celebrate our nation’s July 4 birthday will either not take place due to the health risks of COVID-19, or take place in a completely different manner than in years past. The South Valley region will bring out its red, white, and blue banners in ways that minimize the spread of the coronavirus microbes.

The annual Gilroy Fireworks Show will continue as planned July 4, according to city staff. They encourage residents to view the fireworks from the safety and comfort of their own homes. Also, practice social distancing and wear face coverings where applicable. As in past years, the fireworks display will be launched from Gilroy High School and will begin at dusk, which is about 9:30 p.m.

To help facilitate the safety for those who wish to watch the display, parking and gathering at Gilroy High School and the overflow parking lot will not be allowed.

Additionally, the annual sale of Safe & Sane fireworks at various nonprofit fundraising booths through the city of Gilroy will be permitted this year so families and neighbors can enjoy the Independence Day with firecrackers and other poppin’, smokin’ displays.

Sales of these legal pyrotechnics are anticipated to begin July 1. All booths will be required to follow the orders from the Santa Clara County Public Health Department to maintain public safety.

We encourage Gilroy residents who might have gone north to watch the annual Morgan Hill Freedom Fest events to instead enjoy live streaming of this year’s July 4 celebration.

The COVID-19 pandemic might have put a brake on many summer events beloved by the South Valley region including the Gilroy Garlic Festival. But in the spirit of the USA, the organizers of the nonprofit Freedom Fest decided to get innovative using modern technology to bring people together for the annual birthday bash of our nation.

Unfortunately, holding this year’s Independence Day celebrations in their traditional manner was just not possible with COVID-19 requiring limited mass gatherings and the economic hardships facing local donors and sponsors.

However, South Valley residents know the spirit of this holiday is more than just a traditional celebration of parades and fireworks. As Freedom Fest Board President Jeff Dixon told us, “We know that the spirit of community and celebrating our country will shine through.”

In the spirit of resilience, Freedom Fest organizers are changing the format of almost all of their events to be a broadcast virtual event. Streaming live on the Fourth of July on multiple channels, the show will share with the public a virtual car cruise showing classic vehicles and hot rods, a virtual patriot sing with the children of our community belting out songs celebrating our liberties as a nation, and a virtual parade complete with bands, horse units and special guests. The broadcast will end the day with a special replaying of the Morgan Hill Independence Day fireworks from a previous year.

This show will have a few special surprise guests, including live recognition of some of the heroes in healthcare who have worked tirelessly on the front line for many months this year in helping their fellow South Valley residents get through the coronavirus crisis. It will highlight the rich tradition of this holiday and the diversity of our community and our country.

We encourage all South Valley residents to enjoy Freedom Fest’s live streaming of this year’s July 4 events. And we hope that they will financially support this worthwhile nonprofit organization. Please visit www.morganhillfreedomfest.com or the group’s Facebook page for updates. If you have any questions or comments, email them at [email protected]

As a unified community, celebrating our nation’s Independence Day through the technology of digital devices and the Internet, we can share in the spirit of the founding of our nation as well as recall why it has been the land of the free and the home of the brave for nearly 250 years.

Please be safe and take precautions to protect the health and safety of our community while we celebrate and commemorate this Fourth of July. And a final reminder if you enjoy purchased fireworks during the holiday: Use them safely to avoid injuring people or accidentally starting a fire.

Gilroy Life Editorial
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