MILLBURN, NJ — While the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted a number of annual milestones in Millburn, the township's Fourth of July committee has been hard at work adapting a new program that promises to spread patriotic cheer all throughout town.

This year's celebrations planned by the committee include a series of smaller simultaneous parades that will make their way through the neighborhoods in town. And in the days leading up to the holiday, residents can get in the patriotic spirit while frequenting local businesses in the process.

As Corey Biller, the President of the Fourth of July Committee who spoke with TAPinto about next Saturday's event noted, planning had begun in earnest during January, but as the pandemic gripped the world, it became increasingly clear that holding a traditional series of events was going to become less and less likely.

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"By April we realized that the traditional celebration was not likely, and so we pivoted in our discussions to determine what, if any, festivities we could plan," Biller said. "Planning was difficult because guidance and regulations were continually changing.  The Committee did not want to plan an event that would jeopardize the safety of our community or unnecessarily strain our police and other first responders."

Following a series of discussions, the committee agreed upon the idea of bringing the celebration to the residents in the form of mini-parades through the residential neighborhoods in town. 

The parades will include fire and police vehicles, as well as another vehicle playing patriotic music to help add to the celebratory atmosphere.  Residents' homes will line the parade routes, and as a result they are encouraged to decorate as much as they can.

The planning for the Fourth of July also includes efforts from the committee to help the downtown businesses, many of whom have suffered economic hardship during the pandemic.

"This year, the Committee wanted to recognize the support the businesses have historically provided, and the extraordinary pressure they are currently under, by forgoing our typical donation request and instead providing them with giveaways to encourage residents to patronize their businesses," Biller said.

The promotion works when residents visit businesses in Millburn participating in the program, which can be identified by the Fourth of July poster hanging in the window. At those stores, residents will receive a goody bag with a couple of glow-in-the-dark items that residents can use to light up the night. There is no minimum purchase to acquire the goody bag.

In addition, this year's Millburn Patriot Award will be given to "The heroes of Millburn Township," which acknowledges first responders, healthcare providers, grocery store workers and others who put their health and safety on the line to help residents during the pandemic.

The parades will simultaneously start around 8:45 pm on July 4th.  Maps of the parade routes can be found on the Fourth of July Committee's Instagram, Facebook, and Website, as well as in the photo gallery for this post.