DeKALB – The DeKalb Park District on Wednesday announced it will postpone the annual Fourth of July fireworks show co-hosted by the park district and the City of DeKalb due to pubic health restrictions regarding COVID-19 and large crowds.
The hope is to have a fireworks show sometime in the fall, according to a news release.
“Families and friends alike have been attending the fireworks at Hopkins Park or locations throughout the city for decades as part of their holiday tradition,” reads a joint statement from the park district’s Board of Commissioners. “Bringing their blankets, chairs, and picnics to gather to listen to the Municipal Band perform and enjoy the fireworks at dusk. Unfortunately, these unprecedented times are challenging our traditions for the greater good of keeping our community safe. Like all other holidays these past few months, COVID-19 has altered our ability to safely celebrate in the traditional sense.”
DeKalb Mayor Jerry Smith issued a statement in the release and emphasized the city’s desire to remain in sync with the statewide reopen plan.
“The City concurs fully with our Park District partners on the July 4 decisions. We realize that folks want to get back into Hopkins Park for these community celebrations, including our band concerts, but we must be cautious in aligning ourselves with the State’s phasing plans,” said DeKalb Mayor Jerry Smith in the release.
The statement points out that under Gov. JB Pritzker’s Restore Illinois plan, public gatherings larger than 50 people would not even be permitted under Phase 4, and the region expects to enter Phase 3 Friday.
“Even if our region is permitted to enter Phase 4, the ‘Revitalization’ phase, only gatherings of 50 people or fewer are advised. After much discussion and collaboration between our two organizations, the fireworks have been postponed at this time with hopes to showcase them sometime in the fall.”
If public health guidelines allow, fireworks would return on the Fourth of July to Hopkins Park next summer in 2021.
“We can’t wait to welcome the return of our wonderful community celebration of Independence Day at Hopkins Park for the summer of 2021, especially to celebrate with our residents all of the things that make this country a wonderful place to live,” said Phil Young, park board president in the news release. “In the meantime, we hope that our residents continue to celebrate the freedoms that were fought for and that we all enjoy in our great country.”
The annual 5K run which accompanies the holiday could continue as planned, however, provided the region be allowed to enter Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan, which would allow for groups of 50 or fewer to gather.
Also hosted at Hopkins Park, located 1403 Sycamore Road, the 5K will be offered with modifications that comply with Phase 4 safety restrictions, the release states. There will be online registration only through ‘SignMeUp.com’ and race bag pick-up day-of only. Runners will be separated into two groups of 40 and begin the run one hour apart, at either 7:30 or 8:30 am. There will be no award ceremony, however, participation medals will be included in each race bag and placement awards will be sent in the mail to the winners. Congregating of any kind, including spectators or vendors, will not be permitted at the park. Participants are encouraged to dress in red, white, and blue. If runners do not feel comfortable attempting the in-person 5K, a virtual 5K will be offered and serve as an alternative back-up plan should our region not reach Phase 4 by July 4th. They can use any step-tracker device of their choice to submit their run/walk times, however, they will not be eligible for placement awards. The fee to participate is $25 and the race bag includes a custom t-shirt, bib, and participation medal. To learn more and sign up for the Independence Day 5K, virtual or in-person, or see suggestions on other ways your family can safely celebrate Fourth of July this summer, visit dekalbparkdistrict.com.
Source: The Daily Chronicle