ADDISON - As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases continue to dramatically rise in Winston County, a decision has been made to abbreviate the Town of Addison’s annual Independence Day festivities in an effort to maintain social distancing and public safety.
Addison Assistant Fire Chief Darrell Smith announced this past week that the live entertainment portion of the festival that had been planned for Alexander Park has been cancelled, but the parade and fireworks show will still be held on Independence Day, which this year is Saturday, July 4.
“It was a tough decision that had to be made,” Smith said. “But we decided it was in the best interest of public safety or social distancing that we not have the music festival in the park.”
The parade will still be held, with line-up at 9 a.m. that day and the parade rolling out at 10 a.m. from Addison First Baptist Church.
The parade will trek along Highway 278, make a loop and return to the church building, Smith said.
Anyone wishing to participate in the parade needs to be at the church building for line-up at 9 a.m. The parade annually consists of several floats, fire departments, antique cars, horses, veterans, businesses, as well as anybody who is interested in being in the parade.
“It’s always been a real big parade for the city of Addison,” Smith noted.
“Things are bad right now. We’re cancelling the music show because of safety concerns, but we still want to celebrate our country’s heritage,” Smith added.
The parade and fireworks show were two parts of the festival that organizers believe could be continued in accordance with social distancing and safety guidelines required for COVID-19 by the Alabama Center of Disease Control.
Since the parade is still being planned, organizers advise the public that those viewing the parade along Highway 278 and other areas along the route should stay either inside or at their vehicles with their groups or families.
It has also been advised that people from different groups or families not mingle with each other during the parade in order to keep social distancing, according to Smith.
“If they come there as a group, stay there as a group,” he said.
After the parade, the next event related to Independence Day will be the fireworks show starting at 9 p.m.
The show will be held at A.G. Hicks Stadium at Addison High School, but the public will not be allowed to enter the stadium during the show, organizers said.
“The stadium is off limits,” said Smith. “(The area) will be roped off.”
The stadium area will be restricted from public access not just because of COVID-19, but also for the safety of those viewing the show and in order to meet proper measures related to fire code guidelines, according to organizers.
“From a shooter’s standpoint, you have to maintain a 600-foot distance from the actual show,” Smith said. “If something was to fail, you don’t have anybody in close proximity to the actual shoot.
“That’s a 600-foot radius, it would be 300 feet each way,” he continued. “The bigger shells that we shoot are actually projected 300 feet in the air, so if one was to tip over, that is still 300 feet out.”
People wishing to view the fireworks show can spread out by parking in areas throughout the town and still be able to see the large show, which is scheduled to span 30 -45 minutes, organizers said.
“It’s a huge fireworks show. It can be seen for several miles,” said Smith. “We can practice social distancing that way, get people to spread out all over town, enjoy the show and enjoy our Independence Day.”
Due to the social distancing restrictions on July 4, activities, organizers are planning for a larger and longer fireworks show than usual, Smith said.
See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.