Revelers head to beaches to celebrate a very different July Fourth

Revelers head to the beach to celebrate a very different July Fourth

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - People gathered on beaches for the three-day weekend, despite the lack of fireworks displays and warnings against large gatherings.

Ala Moana Regional Park was one of the popular outdoor spots Friday.

In any other year, it would be much more crowded because of the annual Fourth of July fireworks display, which draws upwards of 50,000 spectators who also spend the day picnicking.

Esther Agbayani and her family are among them. “Yes we do, we come and watch every year.”

But Agbayani was at Magic Island with her family to celebrate her son’s birthday.

She knows that masks are now required outdoors on Oahu when social distancing isn’t possible, even though she wasn’t wearing hers.

“Yes, I have it in my bag, actually have it in my bag,” she said. “Usually I have it on my wrist.”

Only a few people were seen wearings masks in picnic areas, but most of those in the park said they were here with household family members.

“Why am I going to wear a mask? I’m over here with all my family,” said Tui Coleman. “I’m not wearing a mask, but if anyone wants to wear a mask I’m not opposed to it.”

The city also isn’t allowing overnight camping this year, and parking is at a premium because the Magic Island parking lot and its 450 stalls are undergoing reconstruction. That may have kept the huge crowds down, and tents and canopies appeared to be set up further apart from each other.

In Waikiki, the Walter J. MacFarlane Memorial Regatta has been canceled for the first time since it began in 1943. The annual canoe race has been held every Independence Day in the waters off the Outrigger Hotel.

“This involves hundreds of paddlers, coaches, families and the spectators, and Waikiki Beach is not that wide,” said Alice Guild, MacFarlane’s niece. “So on the 4th of July for the regatta, it’s wall-to-wall people.”

Even though there’s no races this year, Guild said it was just a pause. “The McFarlane family continues to be so grateful for this wonderful tribute paid to Walter Mac, And we all look forward to next year. We’ll all be out there in force.”

The possible lack of a crowd on Friday brought some people out who normally wouldn’t head to the beach for the holiday.

“I don’t come out of the 4th of July, just because of how busy it usually is, and we don’t want to deal with the parking and just so much people, “said Coleman.

As for this 4th of July, “We’ll just stay home and have family at the house,” he said.

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