As coronavirus cases spiked and hospital beds filled up across the state, Grant County communities found alternative ways to celebrate the Fourth of July.
In Monument, upwards of 100 people came out to take in the town’s yearly fireworks display.
“Monument is the biggest little fireworks show,” organizer and pyrotechnics specialist Jeremy Boyer said.
The annual festivities were held privately on the North Fork of the John Day River at North Fork RV and Camping Park.
With every RV and campsite full, visitors competed in the annual cornhole tournament and floated along the river before the fireworks show.
Redmond resident Earnie Slavey said he wanted to step back for the weekend.
“We just wanted to get away from our phones and the internet and just unplug for the weekend,” he said.
He said the small-town feel and friendliness of the area is what keeps him coming back.
“As soon as you get to Mitchell, people are much more friendly,” he said.
While Redmond’s annual Fourth of July fireworks show at the Deschutes County Fairgrounds was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Bend’s traditional fireworks show from the top of Pilot Butte was one of the few fireworks display that went on as planned in Oregon.
Dayville’s residents held a “Red, White, and Blue at Home Celebration” with a lamppost and chalk art contest.
For the lamppost contest, Emma, Jody and Ed Winkleman placed first while Tiffnie and Grayson Schmadeka placed second.
Nancy Moore took the top spot in the home decorating contest, and Shelley and Kelly Wyllie came in second.
In the chalk art contest, Grayson Schmadeka placed first in his category, ages 0-6, Alaina Furry placed first in the 7-12 group and Leah Furry placed first in the 13-18 group. For the adults, Carah Furry placed first. Travis Furry won the best overall art display.
Dayville City Recorder Ruthie Moore said the goal of the city’s modified celebration was for both residents and visitors to enjoy the holiday, but stay safe.
“Of course, we were all disappointed to not have some of our annual events,” she said. “We’ve been doing most of these events for approximately 35 years so they were undoubtedly missed, but it was really fun to try some new things.”
At the Fish House Inn and RV Park, community members and visitors enjoyed live music by Austin Lindstrom and barbecue ribs by the Stagecoach food cart.
The Stagecoach, which celebrated its grand opening the day before, is owned by Melody McGregor, Janet Garland and Dayville Merc owner Scott Knapp. They brought in Lindstrom for entertainment.
“We want to help hold this community together,” Knapp said.
He said there is no better way to bring people together than with food.