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'A great celebration': Harrisburg will go ahead with July 4 fireworks as other towns cancel theirs

By Travis DeNeal
Posted on 6/3/2020, 3:39 AM

HARRISBURG -- Harrisburg Mayor John McPeek said the city is planning a July 4 fireworks display.

"Celebrating our country's independence is an important part of being American," McPeek said.

Many local communities have canceled July 4 celebrations in the wake of COVID-19. Celebrations have been canceled both because of a concern for proper social distancing and due to financial considerations.

Eldorado Mayor Rocky James said the temporary closure of some businesses and reduced revenues at others make it difficult to solicit funding for a fireworks show there.

"The Eldorado Men's Club normally solicits donations from our businesses around town, but so many businesses have been hard hit this year that it just isn't a good time to ask for donations," James said.

"We decided that this year, the better course of action would be to hold off on a fireworks show."

In Gallatin County, Equality, which has hosted a spectacular fireworks show for the past several years, has decided to postpone its fireworks show tentatively to Labor Day weekend.

In Harrisburg, though, McPeek said he thinks people from other communities will be eager to come here to enjoy his city's July 4 display.

"Social distancing is required," McPeek said. "We want to be careful. But watching fireworks is something people can safely enjoy."

Harrisburg normally holds the July 4 fireworks display at the Saline County Fairgrounds. Ample parking is available, and those attending will be able to watch from the safety of their vehicles.

In addition, many people who watch Harrisburg's fireworks observe from cars parked near, but not at, the fairgrounds. Due to the flat lay of the land and the high altitude of most fireworks, the show is visible for several miles surrounding the town.

While the city has an existing fund to pay for the display, McPeek said he is welcoming donations in the hopes of having a larger show.

Those who wish to donate may call (618) 253-7451.

McPeek said he's looking forward to the holiday.

"This will be a bright spot not only for Harrisburg but for our region," he said. "This will be a great celebration."