Illegal fireworks are a growing problem in Los Angeles. Photo from Pixabay.
Photo via Pixabay

The only official fireworks show slated for the Coachella Valley this Fourth of July weekend will still go on as planned at a tribal casino in Rancho Mirage.

The 5th annual Fourth of July Spectacular is still set to begin at 9 p.m. Saturday at the Agua Caliente Casino Resort in Rancho Mirage amid social distancing and other protocols aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus, according to Kate Anderson of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians.

The announcement comes after Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday encouraged — but did not mandate — that fireworks shows slated for more than a dozen California counties seeing a surge in COVID-19 cases be canceled to deter crowds from gathering in public, including those slated for Riverside County. The tribe, as a sovereign nation, is not obligated to heed the governor’s recommendations or orders.

The only other large-scale fireworks show in the region was canceled in Big Bear, in San Bernardino County, another of the 19 counties on the governor’s “watch list.”

“We look forward to safely celebrating this national holiday with all of you. We ask that you enjoy the show via the live telecast at 9 p.m. on NBC Palm Springs,” said tribal Chairman Jeff L. Grubbe.

For guests who visit the casino in person, the fireworks show will be a ”drive-up” event, with required social distancing and mandatory face covering.

Guests going to the casino will have their temperatures checked prior to entering, the tribe said.

Synchronized music will be played on KPSI-FM (100.5) during the event. Parking and admission is free.

While the casino may be the only physical place to congregate this Independence Day to view a large fireworks show in the Coachella Valley, other entities are planning unique substitutes.

In Palm Desert, city officials canceled the city’s annual fireworks bonanza due to the pandemic, but invited residents instead to tune in to one of two radio stations — KDES-FM (98.5) and KKUU-FM (92.7) — for a community-wide patriotic music party at 9 p.m.

“The goal is to let music and freedom ring out under the stars for all to hear,” according to a city statement. “Residents and visitors are invited to post pictures of their listening party experiences on social media using the hashtag #UnitePalmDesert.”

The city of Palm Springs previously nixed its fireworks show due to the coronavirus, but the Palm Springs Air Museum will offer a Fourth of July special, cutting admission at night to $5 for its “Dine in the Open Air Under the Stars” event Friday and Friday. Vendors will sell tacos and ice cream.

And in Indio, city officials are asking Valley residents to fly their American flags en masse over the Fourth of July weekend, and to post pictures online with the hashtags #StarsandStripes and #Indio4thofJuly.

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