COLUMBIA, Md. (WJZ) –– There were lots of celebrations throughout the state this Fourth of July weekend. Many were excited to gather together again for the first time in over a year.

Independence Day at Lake Kittamaqundi feels a little different this year.

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“There’s a definite vibe in the air. I think there’s a lot of people willing to say, ‘hey you know what it’s we’re recovering’ it’s a great place to be!” said one attendee.

“We’re feeling freedom after the pandemic. We’re so thankful that we can come out and be free and express ourselves,” said another visitor

However, some things never change like the fun at these festivities happening across the state this weekend such as the parade in Annapolis and Catonsville’s firework show on Saturday.

“Be free, no mask. So it’s really good that things have gotten back to normal again,” said one person.

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In Baltimore City, the fireworks show was canceled for the second year in a row. But in Columbia, they used their display as a push for vaccinations.

“Today we’re out here giving free vaccines. All three: Johnsons and Johnson, Moderna and Pfizer,” said Lessly Valencia.

Howard County Executive Calvin Ball credits the vaccines for helping them pull off this year’s celebration.

“We’re able to take these steps with the governor because of our successes with vaccinating our residents and our declining positivity rates,” said Ball.

“Everybody has been waiting for this and this is just awesome,” said an attendee.

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The show in Columbia lasted just over twenty minutes. Authorities estimated there were about 10,000 in the audience.

Annie Rose Ramos