Independence Day events canceled

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Options for celebrating Independence Day in Marion County are growing limited, as Knoxville and Pleasantville recently made the decision to cancel events for this July 4.

“THRIVE Knoxville is postponing 4th of July activities this year,” a press release states. “There are no plans or dates for rescheduling activities for this year. THRIVE feels the best way it can support the community is to encourage safe behavior.

“The City of Knoxville and THRIVE Knoxville encourage everyone to safely enjoy the fireworks display and to follow all federal, state, and local safety recommendations related to the current pandemic. Both organizations look forward to a time when the community can safely gather together again.”

Knoxville will have its fireworks display. It will be held on Friday, July 3, at the Knoxville Airport. The City received positive feedback about last year’s display at Young’s Park, but to encourage social distancing, this year’s display will return to the Knoxville Airport. When conditions improve, the City hopes to return to Young’s Park for future displays. Viewers are asked to not park along Highway 14, due to safety concerns.

“We’re looking forward to having Knoxville’s annual fireworks display at the Knoxville Airport,” said Knoxville Mayor Brian Hatch. “By having the fireworks at the Knoxville Airport, members of our community will better be able to practice social distancing and safely enjoy the display. We hope the change in location is temporary, and that we will be able to hold them at Young’s Park again in future years.”

Meanwhile, in Plesantville, all activities are canceled.

“After careful consideration, and discussion with the City of Pleasantville, Pleasantville EMS, and the Marion County Department of Public Health, we have made the difficult decision to cancel all activities on the 4th of July, including the parade and fireworks show,” the Chamber of Commerce posted. “We waited as long as we could to make a decision, hoping the COVID-19 impact on our state, community, and neighbors would have lessened and we could proceed as normal. Unfortunately, this is not the case.”

Pleasantville City Manager Joe Mrstik said Pleasantville had the opportunity to showcase its events and invite more people, as Bussey had previously canceled its Independence Day events. But with that, the larger crowds may have posed a health threat and the City would prefer showcasing the town in a safer manner.

“Just because we can do something, doesn’t mean we should,” Mrstik said. “It was a difficult decision to make, but we support it.” The City’s only role in the celebration is to provide money for fireworks. This was a Chamber decision.

As for the City’s annual contribution to fireworks, Mrstik is unsure if the display will be postponed to another 2020 date, or if Independence Day 2021 will have twice as much watch.

Bussey made the decision in May to cancel all events. As of now, Pella’s Independence Day celebration is still on.