By Nick Fortuna
It just wouldn’t be the Fourth of July without a fireworks show, and while there’s no substitute for being there in person, Lake Charles, Louisiana, is providing the next-best thing: a virtual celebration of our nation’s independence featuring fireworks and live music.
In years past, the “Red, White, Blue and You” celebration included a parade and outdoor festival that drew thousands of people to Lake Charles. But with COVID-19 making large gatherings impossible, this year’s event on Saturday, July 4, will be closed to the public and streamed live online.
“Despite COVID-19 safety measures prohibiting large gatherings, we still want Lake Charles to be able to celebrate our independence, our patriotism and the heroes who fought and continue to fight to protect our freedom,” said Lake Charles Mayor Nicholas Hunter. “This year’s celebration will be COVID-19-friendly in order to protect the health of our community.”
The fun begins at 7:15 p.m. Central with a one-hour concert performance by Brandon Broussard and Chez de Bon Temps, a southwestern Louisiana-based traditional Cajun band. The performance will be streamed on Lake Charles City Hall’s Facebook page.
The Lake Charles Community Band will take the stage at 8:30 p.m. for a concert featuring patriotic songs such as “Stars and Stripes Forever” and “America the Beautiful.” Just before the finale, the band will perform the “Armed Forces Salute” medley, with a member from each branch of the armed services being recognized for the duration of that branch’s song.
At 9:15 p.m., the fireworks spectacular begins. The Community Band concert and fireworks will be streamed on KPLCTV.com and the KPLC 7 News Facebook page.
Earlier in the day, there will be a drive-through American flag giveaway at Historic City Hall, 1001 Ryan St. Volunteers will be passing out hand-held flags along with a children’s prize to each car from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Participants are encouraged to post a family photo with the flags to social media with the hashtag #redwhiteblueandyou in support of military veterans. The drive-through also will serve as a depository for old or worn-out flags.
Commemorative T-shirts will be for sale at the drive-through for $5. This year’s logo was designed by Sowela Technical Community College student John Latham.