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How to Celebrate the Fourth of July in Ann Arbor This Year

Like almost everything in 2020, the 4th of July is likely to look a little different in this age of social distancing. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t celebrate the day. Even if that means virtual fireworks and smaller backyard parties.

To help you have the best Fourth possible, we’ve rounded up a few ideas on how to spend it in the Ann Arbor area! Whether you want to enjoy a peaceful day at the farmers’ market or want to throw an all-out barbeque for your family, we’ve got you covered.


Participate in the Virtual Firecracker 5K

The Firecracker 5K is an annual Ann Arbor tradition. So even though it’s technically canceled for this year, they aren’t planning to leave you hanging! Instead of a traditional race, they are planning on a virtual event. How does it work? Just pick any day between July 4th and July 31st and complete your run wherever you want. Runners will use RaceJoy to upload run distances and times so you can compete against each other on a virtual race course. On August 3rd, they will host an official Zoom awards ceremony! Click here to learn more and to register for this fun event.


Enjoy Ypsilanti’s Virtual Fourth of July Parade


Honor and celebrate the July 4th holiday with one of the area’s favorite, patriotic traditions: Ypsilanti’s Independence Day Parade. This 90-year tradition is Michigan’s oldest parade and it’s not going to let a pandemic stop it! This year, they are planning a virtual parade instead, featuring videos of local organizations, bands, groups or businesses being festive. You can submit your own video to


Don’t Miss the Virtual Ann Arbor Jaycees Fourth of July Celebration

We are definitely going to miss the annual in-person Jaycees Fourth of July Celebration, but we know we’re still going to have a blast at their first-ever virtual event! This year, they are planning to continue the festivities online with a bike decorating contest, t-shirts and other virtual events. They are continuing to add to their list of activities. Click here to stay updated.


Have an Outdoor Family Barbecue

It’s America’s birthday, which in itself calls for a special dinner to celebrate. And even though you can’t throw a big bash this year, you can still create a few patriotic recipes from local bloggers to enjoy with just you and your own.

Rachel from Rachel Cooks is a Michigan blogger with a love of summer recipes. Just check out this Fresh Tomato Tart with Herbed Ricotta recipe that is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. Looking for something more kid-friendly? You can’t go wrong with these Air-Fried Chicken Nuggets.

Lori, a Detroit-based culinary school graduate, loves to share delicious recipes on her blog, Foxes Love Lemons. She even has an entire post about epic Fourth of July barbecue foods that includes an Heirloom Tomato & Beet Salad, Beer Brats with Beer Queso and Peach Pie Ice Cream Bars. You can read it here.


Bake Something Patriotic


It just isn’t a party without something sweet. If you’re looking for a patriotic dessert to serve at your makeshift soiree—check out these Triple Berry Crisp Bars from Foxes Love Lemons that add just the right amount of red, white, blue and deliciousness.

Or take a look at these incredibly tasty and easy Mini Patriotic Fruit Tarts from Rachel Cooks! Not only do they only take 10 whole minutes to make, but they are also packed full of fresh fruit.


Take Advantage of Fourth of July Sales

One of our favorite things about the Fourth of July is all of the great deals! So if you’re in the market for some new patio furniture, a new kitchen appliance, or other home decor—now’s the time to start shopping. This year, national stores like Home Depot, Pottery Barn, Wayfair and more are planning big sales on everything from grills to swimwear. Here’s a great running list from Country Living that you can bookmark for later.


Get Takeout from One of Your Favorite Local Restaurants


If you don’t feel like cooking a grand summer barbeque, why not patron a local business instead? From kid-approved restaurants to vegan + vegetarian eateries and highly rated dining spots—we have lists for them all. Plus, many of them are currently offering curbside pickup and takeout so you don’t even have to go inside.


Take a Scenic Drive


This holiday weekend is a great opportunity to explore everything the Ann Arbor area has to offer! Pack a picnic, load up the car and put on your favorite road trip playlist—because you’re going on an adventure. Luckily, you don’t even have to go that far for a fun drive. The Ann Arbor area is packed full of scenic areas that you can explore away from other people. Need some inspiration? Check out our list of The Best Scenic Drives Around Ann Arbor.


Go to the Farmers’ Market


The Fourth of July falls on a Saturday this year and you know what that means—it’s farmers’ market time! Even through a pandemic, Ann Arbor locals have made sure that fresh produce, baked goods, dairy products and so much more are still readily available all over the area. Many of our local markets, from the Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market to ones in Dexter and Ypsilanti, are now offering online ordering, curbside pickup and more. Click here to see what local farmers’ markets are up to this season.


Throw a Socially Distanced Independence Day Party

Throughout the past few months, we have been astounded by the tenacity and perseverance of Michiganders, even in spite of a worldwide pandemic. Many people have transformed their scheduled events, including weddings, graduation parties, Mother’s Day celebrations and more, into socially distanced parties. And you can do it too this Fourth of July! Just invite all your friends over and enjoy a fun party from the comfort of all your cars. Or set up bunches of chairs 6 feet apart and settle in for a warm summer night of fun and friendship.


Break Out the Sparklers

Ann Arbor Fourth of July

There might not be official fireworks this year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t bring some of the sizzling fun to your backyard! Grab a few boxes of sparklers and go to town. Play some games with them, take a few photos, practice your air writing—with a little imagination this simple activity can be the highlight of the holiday.


Happy Independence Day!

How are you planning to celebrate the Fourth this year? Let us know in the comments

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