Happening in STL, Holidays

Where to Watch Fireworks this Fourth of July

There’s really no way to sugarcoat it—Independence Day this year is not going to be the same. Thanks, coronavirus. The Fourth of July is a holiday we celebrate mostly by gathering close together in huge groups to ooh and ahh at explosions in the sky, and this year, that’s just not a safe choice.

Our biggest celebration, Fair Saint Louis, is moving online—stream the program starting at 10 a.m. on the Fourth on their website or Facebook page.

While Riverfest in Saint Charles has been canceled, there will still be a fireworks display July 4 at 9:20 p.m. along the riverfront.

Beyond that, there are a couple of opportunities for IRL fireworks from the safety and comfort of your car.

Gateway Fireworks Displays is putting on socially distanced programs in Sauget at the Gateway Grizzlies’ GCS Ballpark and at Drive-In Saint Louis in Hazelwood. The PowerPlex complex pivoted to Drive-In Saint Louis when it became clear that sports might need to go on hold for a while, and they’ve been holding socially distanced outdoor events like concerts, movies, and graduations all spring.

It’s a novel blending of old-school drive-in movies and big fireworks displays—you pay by the car and tune in to music using your FM dial, and the choreographed display makes you feel like a bald eagle diving talon-first into a big slab of apple pie.

“People look forward to the Fourth of July holiday,” says John Weiter from Gateway Fireworks. “It’s a holiday celebrated by every American citizen. Fireworks are another form of live entertainment. It’s a centuries-old tradition.”

Gateway Fireworks typically works with the Cardinals, the Blues, and the Muny, in addition to private events—which means a lot of lost business this year.

“We started getting cancelations on March 16,” Weiter says. “By the end of March, we lost 85 percent of our projected business for the 2020 year.” Events as far into the future as September have already been canceled, he says. “There’s still a lot of uncertainty out there.”

For the drive-in events in Hazelwood (July 4) and Sauget (July 3 and 4), expect a combination of patriotic songs and crowd-pleasing pop. The shows will be highly choreographed and matched to the music, which means that for every minute of fireworks you see, someone spent an hour matching the beats to the booms.

Article originally posted by STLMag