Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many Fourth of July fireworks celebrations have had to figure out a virtual option this year and Washington D.C.’s A Capitol Fourth is no exception. Here’s what you need to know about the lineup, performances, and live fireworks display for the 2020 Independence Day festivities, which will mark the 40th anniversary of PBS’ annual celebration.
Performances Are Taking Place All Over the Country
Just because they can’t all be together in the nation’s capital doesn’t mean that musical artists won’t be belting out everyone’s favorite patriotic tunes this year.
Hosted (virtually) by John Stamos and Vanessa Williams, this year’s A Capitol Fourth includes performances by Patti LaBelle, John Fogerty, Renee Fleming, Trace Adkins, Andy Grammer, Yolanda Adams, Brantley Gilbert, Lauren Alaina, The Temptations, Chrissy Metz, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Kelli O’Hara, Mandy Gonzalez, Jack Everly, the National Symphony Orchestra, Patrick Lundy & The Ministers of Music, the Choral Arts Society of Washington, the United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own,” the U.S. Army Herald Trumpets, and the U.S. Army Presidential Salute Battery.
One of the special segments in the program will include a salute to healthcare workers, first responders, grocery clerks, truckers, and other Americans who have kept things going through the global pandemic.
“For four decades A Capitol Fourth has paid tribute to our nation’s birthday and the hopes and dreams of all Americans. This year, our broadcast will reflect what we as a country have faced and the challenges ahead, while showcasing our message of inclusion, patriotism, and love,” said Michael Colbert, executive producer of A Capitol Fourth, in a statement.
Following the musical performances and tribute segments will be a live fireworks display over the National Mall. The fireworks are being set off from a barge on the Potomac River.
The festivities begin at 8 p.m. ET/PT on PBS, with the fireworks starting just after 9 p.m.
The Fourth of July’s Origins
The Fourth of July — or Independence Day — is celebrated each year to commemorate the signing of the Declaration of Independence of the United States on July 4, 1776. Congress voted to declare independence from British rule on July 2 but the declaration was not signed until two days later.
Independence Day is a federal holiday and has come to be celebrated with various outdoor activities, like picnics, barbecues, town festivals, fireworks displays, parades, and more.
Macy’s fireworks in New York City is the largest display in the country, but hundreds of other fireworks displays are lighting up the sky all over the country.
There is also the annual tradition of the free PBS concert called A Capitol Fourth, which boasts live performances by some of music’s hottest stars and also appearances or performances by the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, the United States Army Presidential Salute Guns Battery, the U.S. Army Band, the National Symphony Orchestra and the Choral Arts Society of Washington.
This year’s Fourth of July celebrations have largely gone virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic but hopefully, things will be back to normal in 2021.
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