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Annapolis encourages visitors, residents get vaccinated ahead of outdoor July 4 celebrations, fireworks still planned

Before musical acts, art installations, historical performances and food trucks fill the city during the July Fourth weekend as Mayor Gavin Buckley envisions, city officials encourage attendees to get vaccinated ahead of time.

Buckley sees the full weekend of outdoor-only festivities as a coronavirus pandemic reopening celebration. He has, however, cautioned that the city will closely follow public health metrics and any existing restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The city lifted its outdoor mask mandate last month.

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Baltimore canceled its annual Fourth of July fireworks show on Tuesday and announced it would instead plan for a fireworks display on New Year’s Eve.

The Annapolis Memorial Day parade and ceremony later this month have also been canceled. The event was canceled last year, like many others, to limit the coronavirus spread.

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The city has not scaled back any of its July 4th plans after Baltimore’s move.

“As with all special events in the City that are permitted, our Public Safety and Emergency Management teams work to ensure the safety of the public and put in place the appropriate security protocols,” said Mitchelle Stephenson, a city spokesperson.

Fireworks light up the mouth of Spa Creek during Annapolis City's annual fireworks display downtown Annapolis on Friday evening for Independence Day.
Fireworks light up the mouth of Spa Creek during Annapolis City's annual fireworks display downtown Annapolis on Friday evening for Independence Day. (By Matthew Cole, Staff, Capital Gazette)

The city has budgeted $20,000 for the fireworks display — $5,000 of which comes from the unused 2020 fireworks deposit after last year’s celebration was canceled. Another $3,500 will pay for the barge that will shoot off the fireworks from Spa Creek. Other expenses, such as portable restrooms and parade banners will be covered under the special events budget, Stephenson said.

As of Thursday, about 45% of the county’s population have received their first dose of the vaccine, and 36% are fully vaccinated, according to the Anne Arundel County Health Department. That number could increase further when the county expects to begin signing up 12- to 15-year-olds for COVID-19 vaccinations within the next few days, following emergency authorization for the Pfizer vaccine by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

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The Navy Stadium vaccination offers walk-ups from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays. Other vaccination sites like the Pip Moyer Recreation Center, Annapolis Library and public schools also have availability.

All providers are vaccinating everyone ages 16 and older. To get an appointment through the Anne Arundel County Department of Health, go to aacounty.org/covidvax on Tuesdays at 7 p.m. and Thursdays at noon.

A long list of nonprofits and local groups have lined up to host events from July 2 to July 4, including Historic Annapolis, Downtown Annapolis Partnership, Annapolis Maritime Museum, National Park Service, WRNR, Maryland Hall, Annapolis Arts District, Art Farm, West Annapolis Business Association and more.

Here are the planned locations, events and times:

Friday, July 2:

  • Live music at Chambers Park, 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Family picnic at Bates Athletic Complex, 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Historic downtown event at Paca Gardens and Pinkney Street
  • Dining Under the Stars on West Street, 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Food trucks, arts fair and outdoor workouts at Pip Moyer Recreation Center.

Saturday, July 3:

  • Independence Day parade from West Street to City Dock, 10:30 a.m.
  • Outdoor market with food trucks at Clock Tower Place Shopping Center, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Main Street closed between Francis Street and Church Circle, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Performance of Frederick Douglass’s “What to a Slave is the Fourth of July,” 11:30 a.m.
  • Historic downtown at Paca Gardens, along Pinkney Street, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Tango at City Dock, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Live music at MC3 Park Place stage, 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Dining Under the Stars on West Street, 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Movie night, South Forest Drive, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Sunday, July 4:

  • First Sunday Arts Festival, Inner West Street, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Upper Main Street closed for dining, 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Choir groups at People’s Park, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • Eastport Parade, Turner Park to Eastport Elementary, time TBD
  • Fireworks, 9 p.m.

Those interested in hosting a float or participating in the July 4 parade should contact specialevents@annapolis.gov.

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