Well, the good news is, we’ve made it to July in what feels like both a fast and long year so far. We’ve all seen so much chaos and have often felt scared and helpless during this time with everything that has been going on. With the 4th of July upon on us and with the vast majority of things cancelled due to COVID-19, here are some suggestions on what to do to celebrate the holiday to try to keep this annual event normal and hopefully create new memories at the same time.
- Make your own parade- Get together with your neighbors via email/phone/leave a note on everyone’s doors and plan a parade in your neighborhood. You can make it as elaborate as your want- encourage people to make floats if they’re so inclined. Have people buy candy to throw for the kids who will want to watch it. Even if your town has cancelled the annual parade, you can still make it happen on a much smaller scale in your own neighborhood.
- Take a road trip to a historical site- The Midwest has a ton of historical sites to hit up that aren’t too far to drive and with the 4th being on a Saturday this year you can easily drive to a nearby place and not have to worry about having to take Friday or Monday off and if you do have either of those days off you can extend your trip. Springfield, Illinois is where Abraham Lincoln lived from 1844-1861 before becoming president and offers a variety of sites to learn more about him. Just google what historical place you want to learn more about and narrow it down to how far you want to travel and have some fun outside of Iowa.
- Go to Prairie Meadows to see fireworks-They’ll set off the fireworks on July 3rd at midnight and have live music starting at 5 p.m. by the band Spam. You don’t have to be directly in the casino to see the fireworks so if you want to practice social distancing you will need to get there ideally by no later than 7 p.m. if you want to get a good parking spot because their parking lot fills up fast and the neighborhoods nearby also fill up quickly if you’ll be parking on the street. Try to park near a neighborhood that’s near a gas station or somewhere you can get to a bathroom quickly if you aren’t going to watch at Prairie Meadows so you won’t lose your parking spot and can still be able to take a bathroom break if necessary.
- See the West Des Moines fireworks display- If you don’t leave near Prairie Meadows or don’t want to venture to Altoona to see fireworks, West Des Moines is offering their annual fireworks display at their City/school campus (4200 Mills Civic Parkway) on July 4th at dusk. Their parade has been cancelled and parking lots for the fireworks will open at 7:30 p.m. They will be limiting the display this year because of the location change so it most likely won’t be as long/varied as it has in the past.
- Spend the day at Adventureland– Everything has been so serious lately- the pandemic, the black lives matters protests, unemployment- take July 4th as a day off from all of your troubles and ride some rides and eat fried food that will most likely make you throw it up after going on one of the more twisty rides. I’m not saying you can’t worry about everything that has been going on and you should worry about it even while you’re at the park by practicing as much social distancing as you can but goodness, we could all use a day off from 2020 and you might as well do it at a place the specializes in fun.
- Have a picnic- You can reserve most park shelters if you have a large group and if you have a smaller group, just get to the park early enough to grab a table you can use for the day. Bring your favorite foods and spend the day enjoying some time outside. Everyone was cooped up from March to May so enjoy this time outside. We may end up having a second wave of cases of COVID so let’s try to enjoy this freedom while we can. Just please practice social distancing and clean off any areas you’ll be eating off since the park staff most likely won’t be doing this for you and it’s safer to do it as a precaution anyways. You can stay home for this picnic too if you don’t want to deal with reserving a shelter or getting a table at a park. Do what you feel is safest and easiest for your family.
Have a safe and socially distant July 4th and hopefully next year at this time, everything will be drastically better or at least not any worse.