We’re here to tell you there will be an Independence Day celebration in 2020 in Riverside! However, it will be a modified one.

Once before the annual celebration was threatened to be discontinued, and from that rose the group known as The Friends of the Fourth. The group’s founding members were Joe Ballerine, Andy Daun, Danny Jisa, Rey Navarro, Ben Sells and yours truly. We worked together to raise funds to put on one of the finest July 3 and 4 celebrations in the area over the past 10 years. 

Money is raised through the generosity of donors and other fundraising efforts, and those funds have allowed the Friends of the Fourth to coordinate the celebrations with the Village of Riverside, in particular with Recreation Director Ron Malchiodi and his staff.

And now comes the year 2020, with the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic once again threatening Riverside’s longstanding July 4 traditions. As has been said, “We saved it before and we will save it again,” and so we will in 2020.

The Friends of the Fourth, along with the Recreation Department, police and fire departments and village government have been working to coordinate a celebration as a gift to the residents and as a reminder of the spirit that is Riverside in good times and in bad.

Plans have not been completed as yet, so you will have to watch the Landmark or go online to the Friends of the Fourth or the Riverside Recreation Department Facebook pages to get upcoming information.

This will not be the usual celebration and it will be done in conjunction with whatever the social distancing guidelines are at that time. The plan is for all to have a safe celebration and although modified, we can all still have a good time. 

Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone had a flag in front of their house? How about getting you block to have flags? Wonder what block could have the most flags? Something to think about while you’re waiting to hear what is coming next.

Keep the Friends of the Fourth in mind, because on July 5, we will be looking towards July 4, 2021 and another celebration.

I can tell you to watch the water tower, because it will be lit. Can’t tell you when, just watch for it.

Finally, congratulations to Ron Malchiodi on 17 years with the Riverside Recreation Department. Aren’t we the lucky ones? Under his direction, we have seen the program grow for the benefit of all residents. Thank you, Ron.