WHEN FOURTH OF July comes around, Gas Works Park becomes a giant block party during the traditional Seafair Summer Fourth celebrations.

People of all ages come down to celebrate America’s birthday at one of Seattle’s most scenic public spaces. A huge inflatable Statue of Liberty presides over the party from Kite Hill. Adults have their beer gardens. Kids have their play zone, and live music fills the air on a day that many Seattleites consider the actual start of summer in the city.

Unfortunately, we are in for another mostly virtual Fourth in Seattle due to the pandemic, with Seafair offering a TV broadcast of a past fireworks show over Lake Union instead of hosting the large-scale in-person gathering.

On this sunny but breezy afternoon, I’m thinking about all of that as I sit facing the ever-changing city skyline from the concrete plaza on the south tip of the park — this balcony railing must be a coveted spot to watch the pyrotechnics light up the sky.

Having no Independence Day party at Gas Works sure is a bummer, but the park isn’t going anywhere. With or without fireworks, the sloping grounds around the old power plant are always a fun place to visit all summer long.