A pair of local Independence Day celebrations are being truncated because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Organizers of Humboldt’s annual Independence Day, traditionally held on July 3, said Friday’s celebration will have fireworks, but none of the other annual staples, such as the ice cream social or remote-controlled model airplane demonstration.
Humboldt City Administrator Cole Herder, among the Lions Club volunteers who help put on the annual fireworks extravaganza, said spectators are encouraged to practice social distancing if they go to the golf course to watch the show — or if possible, watch from their vehicles or homes.
Herder is discouraging the public from arriving before 9 p.m. Friday.
He expected the fireworks to begin between 9:30 and 10.
Complicating matters could be the nearly full moon.
“That could keep it lighter than it otherwise would be,” and force organizers to wait a few extra minutes before lighting the first fuse, Herder said.
Extra off-road parking has been set up along Franklin Street, which runs east-west directly south of the golf course. Police officers will be on hand to direct traffic.
“We just want to put on the best show we can,” he said.
The plans are tentative, Herder stressed, and could change if the county or state further restricts public gatherings prior to the July 4 holiday.
Changing plans on the fly has become old hat this year in Humboldt.
Herder noted he still has candy in storage for a hunt that was postponed from Easter weekend because of the pandemic. A fishing derby planned earlier this year was put on the backburner as well.
“We may just have to put the candy in the freezer and save it for next year,” Herder said. “It’s probably to the point to guess those aren’t going to happen this year.”
Likewise, the city swimming pool, which originally was scheduled to open Monday, will remain closed for the time being. The delay was ordered at the behest of County Health Officer Rebecca Johnson, urging residents to avoid public gatherings of more than 45 people for the time being.
THE IOLA Elks will host their annual fireworks show after dusk Saturday, but with none of the other activities that typically precede it.
A fishing derby and other games will be postponed until later in the fall, Elks member Lynda Yocham said.
As with the Humboldt show, organizers are encouraging spectators to practice social distancing.
Gates open at 3 p.m. With several acres of available parking, spectators often bring their own fireworks prior to the evening’s big show.
“As of now we’re not doing anything differently” with the fireworks show, Yocham said, “Unless something is put in place between now and Saturday.”
CHANUTE city officials announced this week they are canceling their annual Independence Day celebration altogether because of the pandemic.