Fireworks

In this Times 2015 file photo, Fireworks light up the sky over Heritage Park in Cullman for an Independence Day celebration.

Organized celebrations for the July 4th holiday will be muted this year, thanks to unwelcome interference from the coronavirus pandemic. Cullman County’s annual Smith Lake Park fireworks display and music festival have been canceled, leaving locals looking for a patriotic spectacle with the option of viewing the City of Cullman’s fireworks display — but only from their cars.

Sponsored by Cullman Parks, Recreation and Sports Tourism, the July 4th “Fireworks Over Cullman” show will be a drive-in only event held at Heritage Park. Scheduled for 9 p.m. Saturday, the show will close the park entirely to pedestrian traffic, meaning that only event staff will be allowed through the gates until the event’s over.

That’s intended to encourage social distancing, as Park & Rec director Zac Wood emphasized Tuesday. “The idea is for people to be able to enjoy the show while limiting their exposure, so no one will be admitted inside the park,” he said, noting that guests will be able to stake out a spot at Heritage’s two parking lots on a first-come, first-serve basis.

“Other than the typical rules that always apply — no alcohol and no fireworks — we’re not making any additional requirements for people to follow as they watch from their cars,” said Wood. “But we strongly encourage everyone to follow social distancing guidelines and to abide by health and safety precautions as they enjoy the show with their families.”

At Fairview, organizers are moving ahead with the 19th annual July 4th Freedom Celebration, which features music and fireworks at the Fairview Community Park. Like its counterpart in Cullman, planners are encouraging guests to remain in the vehicles for the fireworks show, or to limit their outdoor interactions to family groups who show up together. This year’s celebration won’t feature food or concessions, but the show will be simulcast on 102.9 FM radio within a quarter-mile radius of the event.

Although Smith Lake Park won’t host any type of July 4th event this year, the park itself will remain open to the public in accordance with its posted Saturday business hours (8 a.m. - 7 p.m.) Alcohol and fireworks are not allowed inside the park.

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