Celebrating a different kind of Fourth

by Steven Felschundneff | steven@claremont-courier.com

This Fourth of July holiday will be unlike any we have experienced before, to say the least.

Gone are the festivities, the parades, getting together to watch fireworks. And the fireworks we do have are both illegal and hardly something to celebrate, as the nightly barrage of explosions keep us awake and scare our four-legged friends.

Not to be deterred, some Claremonters are finding ways to celebrate even as the resurgence of the coronavirus forces many to rethink even small gatherings.

Claremont’s virtual Fourth of July activities included a special video tribute posted on social media Saturday featuring comments from city councilmembers, and photos and video footage from past events—all set to the music of John Phillips Sousa.

“Although we will not be getting together to celebrate in our traditional way, it’s my hope that when we remember this very different Fourth of July, it will be for the ways we adapted to celebrate our freedom and liberty in a way that truly honors our mutual respect for each other’s health, safety and well being,” Mayor Pro Tem Jennifer Stark said on the video.

The city also encouraged residents and businesses to decorate for the holiday and to share “4th at Home” decorations with the hashtag #claremont4th.

“We hope that everyone has a very safe and happy holiday and look forward to bringing back our traditional Fourth of July Celebration in 2021,” the city said in a statement.

The Kerner family decorates their Towne Avenue home for most holidays, and Independence Day 2020 was no exception, with many American flags, both large and small, placed around the yard along, with a sign that read “Proud to be an American.”

Twenty-two year Claremont resident Mary Mayorquin decorates her yard for most holidays, but said her favorites are the Fourth of July, Halloween and Christmas. She began getting the house and yard ready for Independence day on July first, but said there were more decorations in the garage if she felt the inspired to make it more elaborate.

“I love the Fourth of July, and this gets my patriotic spirit going,” she said.

Last year she loaded her dog onto her trike and went to Memorial Park for the parade, but this year she does not have any plans aside from staying home and comforting her dog who is very frightened by the sound of fireworks.

She mentioned that her residence was “the house” where neighbors always stop to have a look at the eclectic mix of permanent and seasonal decorations.

“We still need to celebrate,” she said. “So, hopefully people walking by [the house] get the sprit from the stuff on the lawn.”

There is still time to participate in Claremont High School Cross Country boosters’ Independence Virtual 5k 50k Race/Ride. The event replaces the traditional Freedom 5000 5k which is held every Fourth of July morning beginning at Memorial Park. The virtual race features a 5k run/walk, kids 1k fun run, 10 and under and 50k bike ride.

This is s a physical race from any location the participant chooses. After registering online, participants log their race using a Garmin activity tracker or any of the popular apps for athletes such as Strava or Zwift. It is free to register, however, this is a fundraiser, so Claremont cross country would very much appreciate a donation, which can be made through the registration page: https://runsignup.com/virtualcxcpindependence5k


After the COURIER asked Claremont residents what plans they had made for the weekend, the responses were largely the same: “staying home.”

Retired teacher Pamela Casey Nagler was very clear in her response: “STAYING HOME! It’s the most patriotic thing I can do. I consider it my civic duty. I’ve been hearing from parents all over the city, county, state, country about how much students need to get back in the classroom. This is how we get it done!”

“Staying at home and BBQing and swimming in the pool. No visitors, including family. Respecting our country by following the Safer At Home policy,” Sheryl Bizzell said.

Cher Ofstedahl shared her rather inviting sounding ideas for her weekend including helping out other people: “Dropping off some goodies at the CUCC blessing box, having a two-person, one-dog mini parade through the neighborhood and checking in with loved ones to let them know they are the fireworks in my life!”

Many people mentioned that they would be watching “Hamilton” over the weekend, including Claremont High School Theatre Director Krista Elhai who added that she plans to FaceTime with her offspring in Florida.

Susan Brunasso combined tradition with exercise and civic duty. “Saturday morning we will be doing our own 5K Fourth of July run /walk in our neighborhood. And after a hearty lunch consisting of a spinach salad and lots of water we will be donating blood. We feel this is the patriotic thing to do… saving lives this weekend will give our hearts joy during these turbulent times.”

Like our fire fighters and police officers, Kristen Stegman will be busy this weekend. “I work in healthcare. No such thing as a holiday! I am working and then sanitizing all of my scrubs. So exciting, lol.”

The Girls Scouts of Claremont made a “kindness rocks! garden” on Indian Hill Boulevard and Sixth Street. The scouts painted rocks with messages, flags and hearts and left them by the sidewalk so passersby can take one home.

Jay Miranda submitted a poem for our COVID altered holiday with a bit of hope for the future:

July 4, 2020
I’ll make a cup of tea, no throwing it out
Remembering 1776: the whole perilous bout.
The great unfinished symphony
Of liberty. It calls to me.
I’ll celebrate the red, white, and blue
And pray Claremont won’t spread this dastardly flu.
Don’t despair.
Next summer we’ll rejoice in the sun
With our friends in good health, all having fun.









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