By Rick Palsgrove
Normally on the Fourth of July Groveport is a bustling, festive place, but not this year as city officials have cancelled the annual Independence Day fireworks, parade, and celebration due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
However, all is not lost as the city hopes to hold the fireworks display the night of Apple Butter Day on Oct. 10. The fireworks would be shot off from Groveport Park near the Groveport Recreation Center, 7370 Groveport Road.
On May 11, city of Groveport officials released the following official statement regarding the cancellation of the city’s Fourth of July celebration:
“After careful consideration, the city of Groveport has cancelled all events related to the 2020 July 4th celebration. This decision was made due to the uncertainty caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The health and safety of our residents is a top priority and we are all doing our part to slow the spread of COVID-19 by adhering to social distancing practices. Mayor Westcamp and the city council continue to consider all available information when making these difficult decisions. Determinations on other annual events and activities, that have become part of our community, will be based on current information and with the health and safety of our community as our primary concern. We are hopeful to have a fireworks show during our Oct. 10 Apple Butter Day event. Decisions regarding Apple Butter Day will be made later this year. The city of Groveport looks forward to hosting an even bigger and better event in 2021 and wishes to thank the community and our sponsors for your continued support.”
At Groveport City Council’s May 11 meeting, resident Wayne White expressed his desire that the Independence Day celebration still be held by stating, “I think people’s spirits are being broken. People need a little bit of hope.”
He said city officials should wait before cancelling the event, adding, “Who knows what could happen in a few weeks or month to change things.”
Councilwoman Jean Ann Hilbert replied, “We’re all feeling the same stress and we’re trying to do what is best for our residents and everyone’s safety.”
Added Councilman Ed Dildine, “Whatever decision we make will make half the people mad.”
Councilman Scott Lockett observed, “Everyone wants to get back to normal. Cancelling the event is a tough decision.”
Mayor Lance Westcamp said the decision to cancel the Independence Day celebration was made after weeks of deliberation. He cited that Columbus cancelled its “Red, White, and Boom” event and other communities have also cancelled their Fourth of July celebrations.
“I feel we have know other choice in light of this pandemic,” said Westcamp. “The health and safety of our residents comes first. I don’t know how we could institute social distancing in things like a parade. At least we have a back-up plan for our fireworks on Apple Butter Day. We’re taking this all one day at a time.”
Added Councilman Shawn Cleary, “The fireworks on Apple Butter Day gives us something to look forward to.”
“It’s all about hope,” said Westcamp.
In a related matter, a decision on whether or not to open the Groveport Aquatic Center swimming pool because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic is still pending. The pool has been filled with water.