By Matt Mueller Culture Editor Published Jul 02, 2020 at 3:01 PM

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Fourth of July is going to look and feel a lot different this year. Gone are most of the parades and celebratory gatherings – and so are the holiday's signature fireworks shows.

But you can still have a first-rate Fourth of July this very unusual summer – even complete with fireworks, as there are a few places that still plan to light up the night for Independence Day. Here are several ways you can still "ooh" and "aah" at the rockets red glare, bursting in air, this Fourth of July weekend, whether watching in person or on a screen.

(A reminder: Due to the continuing coronavirus outbreak and the state's rising COVID numbers, Wisconsin health officials highly urge people to stay at home this Fourth of July weekend. If you do choose the former option and want to watch a fireworks show in person, please either do so from the closed safety of your automobile or wear a mask and social distance from others. Don't let a cause for celebration now become a cause of infection and/or death in the future.)

In-person fireworks


The Burlington area has two fireworks shows set for this year's unconventional Fourth of July – both planned to launch at dusk on Saturday. One will take place above the Chocolate Fest Grounds at 681 Maryland Ave., while the other will take place at Browns Lake as a part of its Venetian Fest activities – this year limited to the fireworks show, the boat parade and a 9 a.m. paddle excursion. 


Though the annual parade and park celebration have been canceled due to the coronavirus, the city of Cedarburg will still host a fireworks show on the Fourth of July – albeit from an undisclosed site in order to discourage social gatherings. Enjoy watching from home, though!


Delafield's Fourth of July fireworks show over Lake Nagawicka will continue in 2020, with the show launching from St. John's Island at dusk on Friday, July 3. If you intend to watch in person, please stay in your car or stay social distanced from others while wearing a mask.


The village of Eagle will still celebrate the Fourth of July with a fireworks show at dusk on Saturday following its all-day celebration, Eagle Diamond Days, in Eagle Village Park. And again, if gathering, either for the festival or the fireworks, please wear a mask and stay social distanced from others. 


The city of Elkhorn will launch its fireworks show at 9:30 p.m. on Friday, July 3 at Sunset Park, 200 Devendorf St. Social distancing regulations will be enforced for those attending the show in person. 


The most notable (and closest for most Milwaukeeans) skyward celebration this weekend will be hosted by Greendale, which intends to have its annual fireworks show – albeit with a COVID-minded twist. The light show will take place at dusk on the Fourth of July, but the location will remain a secret until around one hour (8:30 p.m.) before the fireworks begin. The location will be announced then on the village's Facebook page, website, LED sign and reverse 911 system – though the launch site and onsite parking will all still be closed to the public. To best watch the show safely, it's recommended to watch from home or, if that is not possible, park in a legal closer location but continue to follow social distancing protocols. So stay in your car or away from people, please.


The Independence Day fireworks will fly in Hartford this weekend with the annual celebration launching an all-aerial show on Saturday at dusk at Lincoln Athletic Field, 680 Cedar St.


The Water Bugs Ski Club will continue the fireworks tradition in Muskego this year with a show scheduled for dusk on Friday, July 3. The fireworks will be launched from a barge on Little Muskego Lake, with limited parking opening at 4 p.m. in Arthur Park for viewing the show.


Oconomowoc will host its Fourth of July fireworks show at dusk on Friday, July 3, launching from Fowler Lake complete with social distancing regulations for those who plan to attend in person.

Okauchee Lake

The Fourth of July fireworks on Okauchee Lake will go on in 2020, launching from Island Park in front of the Golden Mast restaurant and the Hideway Bar & Grill at dusk (approximately 9:30 p.m.) on Saturday with a Venetian Night lighted boat parade starting off  the show at 8:30 p.m.

Tichigan Lake

Tichigan Lake in Waterford will still set off its annual fireworks show on Saturday this year at dusk from the north end of the lake – complete with glow sticks available at some local stores to add to the experience. Watch from social distanced safety on your boat!

West Bend

West Bend will host its annual fireworks show in Riverside Park at dusk on the Fourth of July, though the park itself will be closed to audiences. Instead, spectators are asked to watch the show from home or park in available spots near Riverside Park and enjoy the fireworks from inside their cars. 

Virtual fireworks

Local shows on Facebook Live

Want to watch the fireworks from the smart safety of your house, but don't live in a building close to a show or with a great view? Thankfully, several Wisconsin fireworks shows will simulcast over Facebook Live to bring the bright booming Fourth of July spirit to homes everywhere – and, best of all, these shows will save on these Facebook pages, so you can technically watch EVEN MORE fireworks than usual this year. 

The West Bend, Elkhorn and Tichigan Lake fireworks extravaganzas all plan to go live on Facebook during their respective Fourth of July shows. And for a little bonus cinematic excitement during your Independence Day fireworks show, Oconomowoc will not only live-stream its launch on Facebook Live but it will also film the show with a drone flying through the sky amidst all of the beautiful blasts (and hopefully not getting damaged by any of them in the process – but that just adds to the excitement). 

To watch any of these shows, click on the links above and tune in at the time of their launch.

Local television

There are no Big Bang or lakefront fireworks shows this year, but that's not stopping some local television stations from giving them to you. Both FOX 6 and WISN 12 will air explosive encores of recent fireworks shows on Friday night – with WISN 12 starting the evening off with a second showing of the Big Gig's Big Bang fireworks presentation from last year at 7 p.m., followed by FOX 6 replaying the 2018 Fourth of July lakefront fireworks show at 9:15 p.m. Because watching fireworks never gets old – even when the footage is old!

Macy's Fourth of July Fireworks

You can't (or at least definitely shouldn't) attend the annual Fourth of July fireworks in New York City this year, but that just means the show is coming to you. Thanks to NBC, Macy's Independence Day fireworks will blow up on your television screens (or on your laptop or phone screens with the NBC app) starting at 7 p.m. on Saturday night. As with everything, this year's edition will be a little different as, in addition to a live fireworks show on Saturday, the program will also feature the secret fireworks presentations that have been split between all five NYC boroughs each night this past week. And in case the fireworks aren't bright enough stars for you, the presentation will also come with appearances from John Legend, the Black Eyed Peas and Tim McGraw.

"A Capitol Fourth"

It doesn't get much more patriotic than a fireworks show in the nation's capitol – something you can experience yourself this year from the comfort of your own couch. PBS will broadcast Washington D.C.'s fireworks presentation – along with performances from Patti LaBelle, The Temptations and more, hosted by Vanessa Williams and John Stamos – on Saturday starting at 7 p.m., as well as stream the show on its website and Facebook event page.

Matt Mueller Culture Editor

As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.

When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.