Hard as it may be to believe, the 4th of July, 2020, is already practically upon us (as of this writing, the holiday is less than two weeks away!). It's Independence Day, America's 244th birthday this year, and you already know what that means: spectacular firework shows, potlucks, and more.
While the 4th is quickly approaching, it isn't too late to plan something, for those people who haven't yet. For everyone out there who's been too busy to make plans, here are five practical and fun suggestions for how you can spend your time this year.
1.Stage Your Own Patriotic Display
What could be more American than a constellation of colored lights blasting through the sky, interrupting a still summer night? Nothing, really. For people in this country, there's no more satisfying way to experience a show than to stage your own. All you need is a clearing, a firework mortar, and shells to supply it. Just make sure you secure it on the ground so that it's pointing upwards. The last thing anyone wants is an overturned mortar's fire coming straight toward your head or threatening to set your house on fire.
This option might be more appealing than ever this year, since many professional shows, including Go Fourth on the River (the big one in New Orleans), are cancelling this year due to COVID.
2.Host a Potluck
Yes, the 4th is a holiday about love of country and patriotism, but what's the use of a country without all the people in it? Without your friends and family, the United States is just a few abstract ideas and some arbitrary international borders. Celebrate the national holiday the right way by bringing people in your community together (though safely). Also, there should be barbecue, barbecue, and potato salad, at the least.
3.Cool Off in a Pool
It's the 4th. You want to experience it right, but who are we kidding? It's also July in Southeast Louisiana, and it's going to be hotter than the devil. Finding a pool near you seems like a pretty cool (no pun intended) way to get out and celebrate while also beating the heat. New Orleans's own The Country Club, for example, in the Bywater, rents day passes to guests for the use of its pool. Can't access a pool or don't want to because of the coronavirus or some other reason? You can always cool off at home with inexpensive inflatables, like Slip N Slides. This option might make sense in particular for people with small children.
4.Visit the WWII Museum
It's a day of national remembrance. Luckily, we have a treasure trove of American history at The National WWII Museum, which is open and accepting visitors. WWII not your style? The Cabildo or The Presbytère, both part of the Louisiana State Museum system, always have history exhibits, and are open as well. They are right on Jackson Square in the Quarter. And that's just naming three museums; there's more where they come from.
5.Curate Your Own American History Lesson
The 4th is a day to reflect on what it means to be an American: the good, the bad, and the ugly. It behooves everyone to remember that the United States embodies a contradiction. It was founded on the ideals of liberty and freedom on the one hand and the conflicting existence of slavery and oppression on the other. For those people looking to think a little more critically this 4th, consider picking up a book about African American history, for example. There are lots of helpful reading lists online.