Donation drives, bicycle rides and volunteer outings will take the place of fireworks extravaganzas in Riverside during the week of July 4.

“Riverside is a patriotic community, and the `Spirit of Riverside’ celebration gives us a way to demonstrate that patriotism all week long,” Mayor Rusty Bailey said. “Whether it’s showing love to your neighbors through acts of service, or enjoying a family bike ride with me on July 4th, I challenge all Riversiders to safely celebrate, connect and serve.”

Concerned about coronavirus exposures, the City Council last month voted to cancel the traditional pyrotechnics shows that are held annually in La Sierra Park and at Mt. Rubidoux to celebrate Independence Day. City Councilman Chuck Condor, a U.S. Air Force veteran, cast the lone vote in favor of continuing the fireworks spectaculars.

The new Spirit of Riverside format will begin Monday with an Act of Service Day, during which residents will be encouraged to check on an elderly or disabled neighbor or perform some other good deed, and then share it via social media, using the hashtag #SpiritofRiverside.

On Tuesday, the Riverside Parks, Recreation & Community Services Department will join with area food banks to collect non-perishable edibles for the nonprofits to distribute to those in need. The collection effort is slated for 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. in Hunt Park, 4015 Jackson St.

On Wednesday, a blood donation drive is scheduled from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Orange Terrace Park, 20010 Orange Terrace Parkway, and food distributions are scheduled between 8 a.m. and noon at Bordwell Park, 2008 MLK Blvd., and La Sierra University Church, 4937 Sierra Vista Ave.

On Thursday, Harvest Christian Fellowship, located at 6115 Arlington Ave., will host a back-to-school Backpack Supply Drive between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m., collecting pencils, pens, paper, binders, glue, crayons and other items to fill free backpacks that will be handed out to kids at various locations.

Next Friday, the city will ask residents to share pictures of municipal parks that will be posted to social media, encouraging wider use of outdoor recreational spaces. The photos will be exhibited on social media.

On Independence Day, Bailey will recognize America’s 244th birthday with a bike ride through the city, beginning about 10 a.m. at the front entrance to Arlington Heights Sports Park, 9401 Cleveland Ave. The mayor is asking participants to festoon their bikes in red, white and blue, or other themed colors, for the occasion.

Meantime, Councilwoman Gaby Plascencia will be holding a decorating contest all next week, asking residents of Ward 5 to turn their homes into patriotically colored abodes, similar to what might seen during the holidays.

“Let’s celebrate our independence by displaying our red, white and blue proudly,” Plascencia said.

The best-decorated properties will be awarded prizes and be featured on the city’s social media pages. More information is available at www.riversideca.gov/council/ward5/porchdecorating.

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