This year’s ‘A Capitol Fourth’ will be pretaped except for live fireworks

“A Capitol Fourth” is set to return for America’s 244th birthday in 2020, but the coronavirus pandemic means the star-studded Independence Day television extravaganza must make some changes.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s “A Capitol Fourth” is changing format from its usual venue on the U.S. Capitol’s West Lawn to a pretaped, 90-minute special which PBS will air starting 8 p.m. on the Fourth of July.

This year’s D.C. fireworks will still be carried live during the broadcast.

“For four decades ‘A Capitol Fourth’ has paid tribute to our nation’s birthday and the hopes and dreams of all Americans,” Executive Producer Michael Colbert said in a statement.

“This year, our broadcast will reflect what we as a country have faced and the challenges ahead, while showcasing our message of inclusion, patriotism and love.” Colbert said.

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Actor John Stamos and singer Vanessa Williams will host the show’s 40th anniversary broadcast, which will include a tribute to the nation’s health care workers, service sector employees, scientists and others on the front lines of the coronavirus crisis.

There will be a salute to wounded service members and a segment “honoring the contributions of African American heroes from our nation’s past and present,” a news release said.

Grammy Award-winning singers Patti LaBelle, John Fogerty and Renee Fleming are among those set to perform, along with legendary Motown stars The Temptations.

Since it is the program’s 40th anniversary, this year’s “A Capitol Fourth” also will run highlights from previous years.

The show will be streamed on the event’s website, YouTube and Facebook feeds.

Separately, President Donald Trump is moving ahead with a “Salute to America” celebration from the White House’s South Lawn and the Ellipse this year on July Fourth.

Alejandro Alvarez

Alejandro Alvarez joined WTOP as a digital journalist and editor in June 2018. He is a reporter and photographer focusing on politics, political activism and international affairs.

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