Parades and poolside parties, live music and community barbecues – and best of all, the choreographed fireworks boom until the finale of “1812 Overture”: All the things we love about public celebrations of July 4th are back. Here’s a quick rundown of what you need to know to have a happy and safe fourth:
1. The fireworks are back
Before the lockdown, Austin’s free celebration along the shores of Lady Bird Lake drew crowds of 100,000. HEB and the Austin Symphony are teaming up to present this classic, to patriotic music and featuring guest speakers. Vendors offer food, drinks, crafts, and souvenirs. The program will begin at 8 p.m. at Vic Mathias Shores, on Riverside Drive across from the Long Center.
Find the complete list of July 4th events in central Texas at austin360.com.
2. Prohibited backyard shows
It is illegal to own or use fireworks in most incorporated cities in the greater Austin area, unless a permit has been issued by firefighters for occupational exposure. In Austin, call 311 to report illegal fireworks. Call 911 only in an emergency.
That said, the US Department of Transportation does not consider these items to be fireworks and their use is permitted in the city of Austin:
- Wooden sparklers (not wire).
- Smoke bombs.
- Glowworms and snakes.
- Poppers, trick noisemakers and snappers.
3. The ooh, fear, ouch!
Some safety tips:
- Young children should not play with or light fireworks, including sparklers, which burn as hot as a welding torch. Give the children glow sticks and leave the sparklers for the adults.
- Do not launch or aim fireworks at other people. And never lean over fireworks to light them; you could be hit and hurt.
- Have a hose, bucket of water, or fire extinguisher nearby and always wear safety glasses.
- Don’t pick up fireworks that haven’t fully exploded. They could still explode. After the fireworks have finished burning, sprinkle them with water or put them in a bucket of water. Don’t put them in the trash.
4. Protect pets
Before the fireworks start, the Austin Humane Society recommends that you:
- Make sure your pet is microchipped and that the associated address and phone number are up to date.
- Talk to your vet about anxiety tools and techniques.
- Make sure your garden is secure.
- Keep a collar and tag on your pet even if they stay at home.
- Keep your pet indoors with a radio or television on to help muffle outside noise.
If your animal lets go:
- Call the microchip company immediately to report that your pet is lost.
- Post information on neighborhood apps, such as Ring and Nextdoor, and on social media, including the Austin Lost and Found Pets Facebook group.
- Find out from your neighbors and organize a search team – there are plenty of pets near you.
- Contact shelters in the area to verify the presence of your pet.