Evanston’s traditional Fourth of July Celebration will be virtual this year for the second year in a row, with the theme “A Community United Cannot Be Divided.”

There was a minor social media flap after a Fox News article last month with the headline “Illinois city cancels July 4 parade over COVID-19 concerns but allows Juneteenth and Pride celebrations.”

However, that headline was incorrect. The City had nothing to do with canceling the festivities, as the July 4th Celebration is organized and put on by an all-volunteer organization, the Evanston Fourth of July Association.

The Juneteenth and Gay Pride events are also volunteer-driven.

In a website posting, the Fourth of July Association explained that when a go-or-no-go decision had to be made in March, there was still uncertainty over the status of the coronavirus pandemic, and what that could mean for crowds at the parade, fun run, band concert, and fireworks.

Because the July Fourth Celebration attracts thousands of spectators (far more than the much smaller Juneteenth and Pride events), with many of those spectators being unvaccinated children, the association decided “out of an abundance of caution” to have a virtual Fourth for the second year in a row.

“We felt we had no choice,” the group said, “but to make this difficult and unpopular decision.”

This year’s virtual Fourth has a number of events and contests, including photo submissions for “Most Festive Family, “Best Decorated Lawn Chair,” “Most Patriotic Pet,” “Most Festive Dish,” and “Best Decorated Storefront.”

For further information about those contests and other virtual Fourth events, go to evanston4th.org.

Next year’s Fourth of July Celebration, assuming COVID does not make a comeback, should be one of the best ever. That’s because 2022 marks the 100th anniversary of the Evanston Fourth of July Association.

The Wilmette Park District is sponsoring a fireworks show and other events on Saturday evening at Gillson Park.

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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