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Expect a different kind of Fourth of July this year


Directives designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 have made for ongoing uncertainty around the world. Here in the Reno area, impacts from the coronavirus disease will once again be felt this weekend by a noted absence of fireworks displays.

Restrictions on travel and large gatherings, along with high fire danger, have put a damper on many regional Fourth of July festivities, including the popular Star Spangled Sparks fireworks show, celebratory events at Greater Nevada Field, and shows in Incline Village and Stateline, Carson City and communities in the Carson Valley. 

Just this week Virginia City decided to cancel its fireworks show as well. All event cancellations are the result of restrictions designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Storey County Manager Austin Osborne said the decision not to have fireworks this year was  not taken lightly.

“The health and safety of our residents, businesses, and visitors is our foremost priority,” he said. “We expect larger than normal visitation this year–with or without the fireworks–and this decision will ensure that our emergency responders and local community will not be overwhelmed while also managing COVID-related matters.”

Both Storey County and Sparks Nugget officials said they hope to host their fireworks shows later in 2020, but have yet to release any firm plans. 

Locals can still take in a fireworks show, however. The Damonte Ranch community plans to continue its annual south Reno show from an undisclosed location, offering residents in the immediate area a front row seat. Those living in other parts of town can see a livestream of the show starting at 9 p.m. on KRXI Fox 11. 

Virginia City has also retained many of its daytime Independence Day activities, with modifications. 

In lieu of a parade, an Independence Day Cruise runs from 12 to 1 p.m. with a flyover from the Nevada Air National Guard. Anyone can drive through Virginia City to participate in the cruise. 

Line-up starts at the Fourth Ward School, located at the junction of State Route 342 and 341 at C Street, starting at 11 a.m. Registration is not required, and red, white and blue vehicle decorations are highly encouraged. ATV/OHVs may participate during the cruise hour only.

Virginia City businesses also remain open, following phase two guidelines. Entertainment will be provided at the Bucket of Blood Saloon, Red Dog Saloon, Ponderosa Saloon and Bonanza. Attractions, including the V&T Train, trolley and mine tours, merchant shops and restaurants are also open.

With limited opportunities to see fireworks this year, fire officials are also reminding people that fireworks are illegal in Reno and Washoe County.

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