This story was updated at 5:57 p.m. on Wednesday, July 1, 2020, with more information.
How are your holiday weekend plans coming along?
Many of Hamilton County's Fourth of July traditions fell through due to coronavirus concerns, but there are plenty of ways to party like a patriot — beyond whatever grill specialties and bottle rockets you may have planned for your own backyard.
* Fireworks: July 2-4. If fireworks are on the to-do list, we've tracked down multiple places where you can see a show. They range from Athens, Tennessee, to Dalton, Georgia, for fireworks only. For fireworks and festivals, consider Dunlap, Tennessee, and Ringgold, Georgia. Most events are planned for Saturday, but at least one is scheduled Thursday (in Fort Payne, Alabama), and at least three are happening Friday (in Guild, Tennessee, LaFayette, Georgia, and the border towns of Copperhill, Tennessee, and McCaysville, Georgia). You can find the full list at www.timesfreepress.com.
* Red, White and Blue Days: July 3-4. Also notable this week is the reopening of the Creative Discovery Museum, 321 Chestnut St. On Friday and Saturday, the children's museum will roll out several patriotic-themed crafts and activities that teach why the Fourth of July is celebrated each year. Kids also will enjoy rocket stomps in the atrium and "fireworks" accomplished with Bubble Wrap. Food trucks on the plaza will include Off the Cart and Poppytons Patisserie.
New "Play It Safe" policies include limiting capacity, social distancing, no-contact health screenings and timed tickets for entry. The museum is open 10 a.m.-1 p.m. and 2-5 p.m. daily. Face masks are mandatory for ages 5 and up and encouraged for children ages 2-4. Timed tickets can be reserved or purchased at cdmfun.org/tickets.
* Giraffe feedings: July 3-5. The big news at Chattanooga Zoo this weekend is the chance to feed the three new giraffes — George, Porter and Hardee Star. Feedings are at 11 a.m., and the limited tickets are first-come, first-served. Find out more at chattzoo.org.
* Virtual concert: July 4. Unable to present a live performance this year, the Collegedale-based East Tennessee Symphony Orchestra will instead air a video stream on the ETSO Facebook page at 7 p.m. Saturday. This prerecorded performance by the all-volunteer orchestra includes patriotic songs and other familiar tunes designed to "encourage a sense of closeness and community among fellow Americans," despite social distancing, said Mathew Miller, executive director of the ETSO.
Meanwhile, Chattanooga Tourism Co. is promoting five alternative ways to enjoy Independence Day.
* 3-Day River Market: July 3-5. The Chattanooga River Market will be set up Friday through Sunday at the Tennessee Aquarium plaza, 1 Broad St., offering three days of live music, market vendors, food trucks and expanded outdoor seating along the Tennessee River. Living historians will share stories from the new Charles H. Coolidge National Medal of Honor Heritage Center. The Tennessee Aquarium is featuring a "Turtles of the World" exhibit. You can browse the River Market for free. Admission fees apply at the Heritage Center and Aquarium, both of which will have expanded hours Friday through Sunday.
* Live music at Songbirds Guitar Museum: July 3-4. Make plans to jam out safely (with a smaller crowd and spacing) at Songbirds with live concerts from Aunt Betty on Friday and Voodoo Slim on Saturday. Afterward, stroll Station Street, Chattanooga's only open-container street, which is closed to traffic on weekends and has well-spaced tables for dining and drinks. Get ticket information for the shows at museum.songbirds.rocks.
* Full Moon Paddleboard Adventure: July 4. Sunshine's Adventures will offer a peaceful paddle beginning at sunset and ending by the light of the full moon on Saturday. Or you can rent a standup paddleboard, kayak or boat and float along the Tennessee River or Chickamauga Lake. You can even watch the fireworks at Harbor Lights Marina from your watercraft. Learn more at sunshines-adventures.com.
* Nightfall concert stream: July 3. The weekly Nightfall concert series has gone virtual this summer with live concerts every Friday night. This week's headliner is Joanna Connor, a Chicago-based blues, rock and R&B artist who has shared the stage with Jimmy Page, B.B. King and The Doobie Brothers. She'll play at 7:20 p.m., following a 20-minute warm-up by the Playing Possum Blues Band at 7 p.m. Find a link to watch on YouTube or Facebook Live at nightfallchattanooga.com.
* Virtual 5K, Half Marathon or 24-Hour Ultra Race: July 3-5. Take part in an Independence Day virtual race by signing up at runsignup.com. You can complete this self-coordinated, self-paced run on your own time wherever you wish to go. Once complete, you send your results to email@example.com to upload to the website.
Beersheeba Springs, Tennessee, also has announced two events for charity this weekend.
* Art on the Mountain: July 2-4. Fine artist Stacy Beam, who owns the Stacy Beam Gallery in Beersheba Springs, is hosting an art show to benefit the town's free medical clinic. An American painter who began his career as a portrait artist, Beam now focuses on interpretations of the American South. You can view examples of his work at stacybeam.com/.
The show will be open 10 a.m.-7 p.m. CDT Thursday through Saturday at the gallery, 19643 State Highway 56. Joining Beam are watercolorist Billy Sutton of Annapolis, Maryland, and photographer William Carey Box from Franklin, Tennessee. Their works also will include scenes from the Beersheba community.
Proceeds from art sales will benefit the Beersheba Springs Medical Clinic, a nonprofit facility established in 2010 to provide comprehensive ambulatory medical services for residents of Grundy County, one of the most depressed counties in Tennessee.
* Dash to the Door 2020: July 3-5. Another virtual race, this run-or-walk 5K can be completed anytime over the weekend. Cost is $10, and all registrants receive a bandana. Proceeds from this event also benefit the clinic. To sign up, go to beershebaclinic.org/dash/.