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July 4 fireworks live stream and on TV: What time to watch and who has the best lineup
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Fireworks at the Empire State Building for the 2020 “Macy's Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular” in New York. (Kent Miller/Macy's)
ByEmily Yahr
July 4, 2021 at 6:00 a.m. EDT
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Most July Fourth fireworks displays were canceled last year because of the global pandemic, but several have returned for another summer celebration. Here are some options you can watch if you still don’t want to leave your couch.
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(All times Eastern)
“A Capitol Fourth”
When: 8 to 9:30 p.m.
Where: Washington
How to watch: PBS, PBS’s website, YouTube or Facebook
Host: Actress and singer Vanessa Williams
Performers: The concert special will be prerecorded (though the fireworks will be live), with musical acts including Jimmy Buffett, Cynthia Erivo, Gladys Knight, Auli’i Cravalho, Christopher Jackson, Mickey Guyton, Jimmie Allen, Jennifer Nettles, Train and a cappella group Pentatonix, as well as Broadway stars Laura Osnes and Ali Stroker.
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Extras: As is tradition, Jack Everly will conduct the National Symphony Orchestra. Soprano star Renée Fleming will kick off the broadcast with the national anthem, and later, three astronauts will say hello from the International Space Station.
“Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular”
When: 8 to 10 p.m. (an hour-long encore airs directly after)
Where: New York
How to watch: NBC or NBC.com/live with a cable log-in
Hosts: Broadway star Renée Elise Goldsberry and actor Ryan Eggold
Performers: Blake Shelton, Black Pumas, Coldplay, Reba McEntire and OneRepublic are scheduled to take the stage, and the Jonas Brothers will perform a medley of their hits along with special guest Marshmello.
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Extras: The network promises a “spectacular drone light show” for the first time ever to honor Team USA heading to the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympic Games.
“CNN’s Fourth in America Special”
When: 7 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Where: The network will feature firework shows across the country, from Washington to New York to Nashville to San Francisco.
How to watch: The show streams live on CNN.com as well as CNN apps for mobile devices and TVs.
Hosts: Dana Bash and Don Lemon will anchor East Coast, Southern and Midwest coverage, with Ana Cabrera and Victor Blackwell taking the West Coast.
Performers: The Beach Boys and John Stamos, Kool and the Gang, Nelly, Black Eyed Peas, Chicago, Flo Rida, Foreigner, REO Speedwagon, Blues Traveler, Trisha Yearwood, Bebe Rexha, Billy Ray Cyrus, Sammy Hagar and the Circle, Susanna Hoffs, and Tasha Cobbs Leonard are among those set to put on a show.
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Extras: Choirs and symphonies around the country will offer ensemble performances, including the Harlem Gospel Choir, the U.S. Army Field Band, the Austin Symphony Orchestra and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra.
Read more:
Our best July 4th recipes for grilled meats, seasonal sides and make-ahead desserts
How to celebrate July 4th this weekend, from a small-town parade to a front-row seat at the fireworks
Crowds, traffic and delays: What to expect if you’re traveling July 4th weekend
Emily Yahr is an entertainment reporter for The Washington Post. She joined The Post in 2008 and has previously written for the Boston Globe, USA Today, the Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader and the American Journalism Review.
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