City officials say Groveport’s Fourth of July celebration went smoothly

By Rick Palsgrove
Groveport Editor

Members of Turnpoint Church handed out information to parade watchers.

Groveport Police Chief Casey Adams said all went well at the city of Groveport’s Independence Day fireworks, parade, and other activities.

“It felt like a traditional community gathering,” said Adams. “It was a good atmosphere with lots of smiles. It was good wholesome family time.”

This year the city held its fireworks and activities – including the musical performances, kids’ activities, and food trucks – on July 3 and the Main Street parade was held on July 4.

The events were held over a two day period to be consistent with what other area communities do and to combat problems that arose last year when, according to the Groveport Police, “flash mobs” of youths, believed to be made up of teenagers and others in their early 20s – some wearing ski masks – caused disruptions and chaos by tossing fireworks and other explosive devices and then running in all directions.
Adams said this year there were no disruptive flash mobs or any other problems at the festivities.

“We had no negative issues or incidents this year,” said Adams. “It was a great atmosphere. The crowd at the fireworks was smaller this year and that could be because they were held on July 3 and also because of the rainy weather.”

The fireworks, originally scheduled to fire off at 10 p.m., were delayed until 10:30 p.m. due to the rain that drenched the area earlier in the evening. Because of that rain, the stage where the bands performed had to be dried off so the music performances ran a bit late.

But Adams said the crowd was loving the bands and was in a good mood and did not seem to mind the delay.

Following the fireworks, Adams said police officers were able to clear traffic out of town in about 20 to 25 minutes.

“In past years it usually took almost an hour,” said Adams. “But this year we changed up our traffic patterns and that eased the traffic flow.”

It was a nice, relaxed Fourth,” said Councilwoman Jean Ann Hilbert.

Mayor Lance Westcamp said the plan is to keep the same two day schedule for next year’s event.

Westcamp complimented the city’s public service department for its clean up efforts after the events as well as the work of the Groveport Police.

Regarding people firing off personal fireworks in their backyards, Adams said police enforce the city’s ban on the use of personal fireworks as best as they can.

The city’s existing law completely bans the use of personal fireworks at any time within the city of Groveport.

Groveport’s local law is different than current state law that allows individuals to possess consumer grade fireworks and to discharge them on their own property or on another person’s property with permission on the following days: New Year’s Day; Chinese New Year; Cinco de Mayo; Memorial Day weekend; Juneteenth; July 3, 4, and 5 and the Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays preceding and following; Labor Day weekend, Diwali; and New Year’s Eve.

State law permits local governments to restrict the dates and times when individuals may discharge consumer grade fireworks or to impose a complete ban on the use of consumer grade fireworks.

Adams said for police officers to properly enforce the law, the firing off of fireworks must happen in police presence. If officers can identify who fired the personal fireworks they will cite the individual. If not, they will issue a warning.

According to city officials, the use of personal fireworks within city limits is a first degree misdemeanor punishable by six months in jail / $1,000 fine.

“It’s a safety issue,” said Adams, adding that fireworks can injure people and start fires.

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