For many, July 4 means watching a big fireworks show, then celebrating at a bar.
Neither will be possible this Independence Day.
A few hours after Gov. Doug Ducey delayed school openings, closed bars and gyms, and banned gatherings of 50 or more, Peoria canceled a fireworks celebration.
A few days earlier, Deer Valley Unified and Glendale Union high school districts canceled graduations.
At a Monday, June 29, press conference, Ducey closed bars, gyms, movie theaters and water parks “effective 8 p.m today with a targeted reopening date in 30 days.
“We are going to delay the first day of school until Aug. 17,” Ducey said.
He again pleaded with people to “stay home if you can.”
Ducey cited rising coronavirus numbers and hospitalizations in pleading with people to stay home—and, when in public, to wear masks.
“Indoor and outdoor public events of 50 or more will be prohibited,” Ducey said. Monday night, the city of Peoria emailed a press release.
“As a result of the increase in community spread of COVID-19, the city of Peoria made the difficult decision to cancel the fireworks show previously planned at three locations for the All-American Festival at Home this Saturday, July 4.”
The city will continue the rest of a July 4 All-American Festival at Home.
The key words are “at home.”
Last year’s All-American Festival celebrated Independence Day at Peoria Sports Center, with bands, water slides, a cornhole tournament, plenty of food and the traditional fireworks blast-off over the heads of thousands.
This year, it will be a home version without fireworks.
Language of Ducey’s executive order did not, however, force the cancellation directly: “Effective June 29, 2020, organized public events of more than 50 people are prohibited unless the city, town or county in unincorporated areas has approved the event, and only if adequate safety precautions are implemented, including physical distancing measures.”
Glendale and Goodyear also canceled fireworks celebrations hours after Ducey’s Monday press conference.
“Stay home if you can,” Ducey said, repeating the message several times at his press conference.
“This is a dangerous virus, and we need to slow it down and contain it,” Ducey said, stressing, “Mask up.” (Glendale passed a proclamation requiring people to wear masks in public last week.)
“This is a time for us to put on a full-court press,” Ducey said. “Our expectation is next weeks our numbers will be worse.”
All-American Festival at Home
“Peoria’s annual All-American Fourth of July Festival has long been a wonderful opportunity for us to honor the greatness of our country, the independent spirit of our founding fathers, and the freedom that we enjoy every single day,” Mayor Cathy Carlat said.
“This year we will celebrate from the comfort and safety of our homes, but we will still celebrate. As we all look toward the skies at the spectacular fireworks show, together we will honor our heritage and liberties as Americans.”
The All-American Festival at Home, according to a press release, “will be a full day of fun activities easily accessible from computer screens, mobile devices and TVs.”
Starting at noon with a cannonball contest, the show can be watched on Peoria Channel 11 through Cox Channel 11 and CenturyLink Channel 8509, Facebook (facebook.com/CityofPeoriaAz) and YouTube (Digital Peoria).
For more information, visit peoriaaz.gov/events.
Highlights include a tour of a fire station, barbecue tips from local chefs, trivia, and a rebroadcast of the best of previous fireworks shows at 9 p.m.
Safety at home
“In lieu of the city’s fireworks show, some residents may choose to celebrate with their own fireworks,” said Kristina Perez, a city spokewsoman.
“The Peoria Fire-Medical Department encourages residents to be careful while using legal fireworks. Fireworks are not permitted on city, state or school property.”
According to a press release, “Residents should be considerate of their neighbors, animals and flammable desert spaces and supervise children near fireworks. The majority of injuries that occur on July 4 are caused by misuse of consumer fireworks or by those consumer fireworks that prematurely detonate.”
For more safety tips, visit peoriaaz.gov/fireworks.
Peoria Unified, Deer Valley Unified and Glendale Union high schools will not have graduation ceremonies.
According to a post on the Glendale Union High School District website, “When we sent our graduation survey we were hopeful that the COVID-19 cases would decline, and that our state would be moved into Phase II so we could safely hold a traditional, in-person graduation at an indoor venue or on our schools’ football fields. Unfortunately, Arizona does not meet the gating criteria to move into Phase II.
“Current recommendations for Phase I from local, state and national health agencies do not allow us to have a mass gathering. We are disappointed and saddened that we are not authorized to proceed with a large ceremony at an indoor venue or on our schools’ football fields.”
In a June 25 letter to parents, Deer Valley Unified School District superintendent Curtis Finch said, “DVUSD truly hoped that we would be able to hold your graduation ceremony at State Farm Stadium with social distancing and safety precautions in place; however, today, the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority, the governing authority over State Farm Stadium, announced that they will not allow us to proceed with the ceremonies due to the current health situation in Arizona. In addition, Gov. Ducey said today he is discouraging large gatherings because of recent increases in cases of COVID-19, and therefore, we would be unable to hold alternate ceremonies.
“I am personally saddened for the students in the Class of 2020 that they are not able to participate in this rite of passage.”
The Deer Valley district includes Mountain Ridge High School, which has students from Glendale and Peoria.
The Peoria All-American at Home July 4 schedule
Noon: Cannonball contest
12:03 p.m. Fire station tour
12:14 p.m. Library craft
12:27 p.m. July 4 ice cream tasting
12:30 p.m. Slushie chugging contest
12:35 p.m. Library storytime
12:42 p.m. Peoria brush fire demonstration
12:49 p.m. BBQ cooking tips
1:04 p.m. July 4 line dancing
1:20 p.m. Patriotic bike parade (recorded earlier)
1:30 p.m. Live trivia game
7 p.m.Live trivia game
7:10 p.m.GRL PWR concert
8 p.m. Live trivia game
8:10 p.m.R and R country concert
“The Star-Spangled Banner” performance
Past All-American fireworks shows
Watch on Peoria Channel 11 through Cox Channel 11, CenturyLink Channel 8509, Facebook (facebook.com/CityofPeoriaAz) or YouTube (Digital Peoria).