The COVID-19 pandemic restrictions are easing and slowly allowing event organizers to schedule festivals, concerts and in-person presentations. But there will be a lag since large events take months to plan, finance and market, things the shutdown orders of just a few weeks ago didn’t make practical for many Independence Day events. Even with the changes, Pierce County is still celebrating the 4th of July in 2021.
The City of DuPont and Northwest Landing canceled their annual 4th of July Hometown Celebration for 2021, including the fireworks show. This decision was made with an abundance of caution, in keeping with the governor’s phased re-opening. However, due to the uncertainty and in consideration of the community’s health and safety, it is just not feasible or responsible to continue with the event.
The two-day festivities on July 3 will kick off at 5 p.m. at the Eatonville Elementary School with food and vendors followed by various entertainment starting at 6 p.m. Bouncy big toys offer for the kids, and families will love the grand fireworks display beginning at dusk. The annual 4th of July Parade starts at noon.
Likely the largest event with the biggest boom will be Wings and Wheels in Gig Harbor on July 3 and 4. The event has a bit of everything loud, flying and flashy.
The signature event of the two-day tribute to all things flying and revving will feature the Air Force F-35 Lightning II demonstration team and the U.S. Navy Legacy Flight team from Whidbey Island Naval Air Station, as well as flyovers by a P-40 Warhawk, C-17A Globemaster II, AH-1 Cobra and UH-1 Huey helicopters, and aerial acrobatics by Vicky Benzing and Undaunted Airshows.
COVID-19 safety concerns, however, made the two-day activities drive-in only with shows at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. daily while spectators tailgate in the parking lot. Organizers strongly encourage visitors to bring their own cooler of food and beverages since no concessions will be available. Tickets are $125 to $190 per parking place and cover everyone in the vehicle. Online discounts are available.
Joint Base Lewis-McChord
Joint Base Lewis-McChord Freedom Fest will be held from 7 to 11 p.m. at JBLM’s Cowan Stadium. The free event is open to all DOD Identification holders. Food trucks will be available, and masks will not be required for visitors who are fully vaccinated.
The Puyallup – Sumner Chamber of Commerce and Bill Korum’s Puyallup Nissan are sponsoring Let Freedom Ring at the Washington State Fair & Events Center on July 3. The event features a lineup of fun for all presented in accordance with whatever Healthy Washington Guidelines are in place at the time.
The event includes a free Family-Friendly Fun on the Fairgrounds section consisting of a collection of food trucks, a night market for vendors of all sorts and a collection of classic cars on display. Access the fun through the Gold Gate.
The Let Freedom Ring! Concert runs from 3 to 9:50 p.m. at the grandstand and includes six bands representing diverse musical genres, then cap off the night with fireworks. The lineup consists of Russ Mazion, Sweet Thang and the Stumblers, Rain Light Fade, The Olson Brothers Band, Sami Chohfi/Blue Helix and Limberlost. Tickets are $20 per person and restricted for age 21+ only since adult beverages will be available for purchase at the event.
People wishing to watch the fireworks from the comfort of their own cars can attend the Red, White & Kaboom Drive-In Fireworks Celebration. Attendees can purchase a $25 vehicle pass for the Gold Lot or a $35 VIP pass at the Teal Lot. Lots open at 3 p.m., and cars must be parked by 8 p.m. Advance purchase is required. Teal VIP Lot includes one U.S flag bandanna/neck gaiter and two pairs of 3-D fireworks glasses. Teal VIP Lot is smaller than Gold Lot and is on grass rather than paved. Swag bags and 3-D glasses are also available for purchase at the event.
While the historic town’s annual street parade and fireworks show are canceled again this year, Steilacoom will still show its patriotic pride in a uniquely pandemic way, with a virtual fun run called Four on the Fourth. The advantages of a virtual event include runners or walkers being able to select the day, route and location of their own four-mile run and/or walk. Just be sure to complete the dash by July 4. Participants are encouraged to complete an out-and-back route to keep with the spirit of the event’s actual course that traditionally runs down Lafayette Street.
Runners and walkers can have their time and photos included in the event’s results by sending them to firstname.lastname@example.org by July 5. The cost is $10, with ribbons awarded to the top three times in each age and gender group. Medals will be mailed to 1st place overall male and female runners. In addition, this event provides funds to purchase shoes and uniforms for local youth runners and provides a college scholarship for a graduating senior.
The T-Town Rocks Music Festival will rock the Narrows Marina on July 3 with Sir Mix-a-Lot headlining the day-long parade of musical acts benefiting local charities and feature local artist Ruthie Craft and the BGP. Tickets are $75 to $150.
Get excited to come together, dance, support local causes and enjoy live artist’s performances after this long pause of social distancing. Visitors can come by boat or car to the Narrows Marina along the Thea Foss Waterway and enjoy street vendor food by The Vault Catering and beer brewed by Tacoma’s Narrows Brewing Co.
The proceeds from this fun event benefit First5Fundamentals, Graduate Tacoma, Tacoma Rescue Mission, World Relief, Cascade Regional Blood Services, the Wounded Warrior Project, Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital and MultiCare’s Pediatric Developmental Department.
While the annual Freedom Fair along Tacoma’s waterfront won’t happen again this year, the baseball gods have smiled on the AAA Rainiers with a six-day home stretch against the Reno Aces over the Independence Day week including the regular Friday night fireworks on July 2 and an Independence Day fireworks extravaganza on Saturday, July 3, with skydivers and longer firework displays. The game on July 4 is a day game, which allows visitors to watch baseball in the open-air stadium while having their evening free for family gatherings. Single-game tickets are available, and COVID-19 restrictions are set to expire by then.
“For us, it will be a celebration that we will be wide open. We are doing it up as much as we can,” Rainier’s President Aaron Artman said, noting that outdoor baseball at Cheney might likely be many people’s post-pandemic coming out party. “People are starting to come out more. Once you jump in the pool, it’s great. But there are a lot of people waiting on the edge.”
Be sure to check back on the event organizer’s website for any up-to-date changes as we get closer to the holiday. While our state is supposed to fully open on June 30, these events are also following Pierce County Health guidelines and may have different rules. Happy Independence Day!