For the first time in two decades, Jefferson Parish officials were forced to cancel the Uncle Sam Jam at Lafreniere Park in Metairie amid the coronavirus response.
The annual patriotic party typically attracts thousands of concert-goers for music, food and fireworks to celebrate Independence Day.
But there’s still hope for families looking for options to celebrate the Fourth of July weekend in Jefferson Parish, while social distancing.
Two inaugural Fourth of July events hope to fill the void by tapping into a nostalgic drive-in experience for celebrations that fit our new normal.
After hosting a drive-in movie night during Memorial Day weekend, a Metairie event company helps launch another drive-in event to celebrate Independence Day on Saturday, July 4.
The tailgate, drive-in style celebration, called Festing on the Fourth, boasts a music-filled holiday with continuous music from local bands, culminating with a fireworks display over Lake Ponchartrain.
Amanda Shaw, Brass-a-holics, Flow tribe and D-Play are set to perform at Festing on the Fourth, staged at Bucktown Harbor Park.
The event, hosted by Z Event Company, also aims to support local musicians and hospitality businesses impacted by COVID-19.
“We are giving back to our community the best way we know how– by putting on an enjoyable event with built-in social distancing allowing families to share a car and a show! We love our local musicians and they are ready to get in front of people again, but at a safe distance,” Z Event founder Susan Zackin said. “The event parks a limited number of cars spaced across the field to allow drivers and passengers to enjoy the music, while safely socially distancing.”
Organizers say the Jefferson Parish Sheriff Office will help enforce social distancing at the event, and guests should remain inside or near their vehicles.
Food trucks will be onsite, along with beverages and cocktails. Masks will be required along with safe distancing in the food area.
“While our nation figures out life in this ‘new norm’, leave it to locals to figure out a way to let the music play again in one of America’s greatest places,” Councilwoman Jennifer Van Vrancken said.
Entry to Bucktown Harbor Park begins at 2 p.m. for ticket holders to park their vehicles and begin enjoying food and beverages. The evening ends with a firework show at 9 p.m.
Limited tickets for Festing on the Fourth are $50 per vehicle with driver, $45 per passenger.
Prior to the Independence Day drive-in, the first-ever Liberty at the Lake event will help kick-off the Fourth of July weekend with a drive-in fireworks show and concert at the Bucktown Marina in Metairie on Thursday, July 2.
New Orleans party band Bag of Donuts headlines the inaugural event, billed as a socially-distanced tailgate party featuring food trucks and bar trucks.
“After many months indoors, the exciting, social-distancing-friendly Liberty at the Lake will bring our community together for live music, food, drinks, and fireworks over Lake Pontchartrain,” organizers said in a release.
Registration for the celebration is drive-in movie theater style with parking spots available for $25 (includes vehicle and driver) + $15/passenger. In addition to the local food and bar trucks onsite with refreshments for purchase, outside food and drink will be allowed.
The event, hosted by Jefferson Chamber, takes place from 5:30 to 9 p.m., with live music starting at 6:30 p.m., followed by the fireworks show at 8:45 p.m.