Fireworks on for Fourth of July

Mary Ann Kearns [email protected]

Maysville’s Fourth of July fireworks are a go.

City commissioners agreed during Wednesday’s special meeting to have the annual fireworks show, minus the traditional parade, concert and other events that normally fill the day and bring crowds to downtown for the celebration.

Commissioners originally discussed the issue of whether or not to hold the city’s Independence Day celebration last week but decided to table it for a final decision on Wednesday. Commissioners and city administrators had expressed concerns with maintaining social distancing guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Maysville’s Main Street Director Caroline Reece said she had checked with other cities in the area to see if they planned to hold their celebrations and found that Vanceburg and Flemingsburg have cancelled their festivities and that Ripley and Augusta have yet to make a decision.

Mayor Charles Cotterill reminded commissioners they had discussed postponing the entire event until Labor Day weekend. Commissioner Kelly Ashley said that would be “the most prudent thing to do. Hopefully the situation will be better then.”

City Manager Matt Wallingford said city administrators “need a direction on what to do.”

Commissioner Victor McKay said he had been in contact with Buffalo Trace Health District Director Allison Adams and that she said she doesn’t have a problem with a Fourth of July parade. Wallingford pointed out that there would be no way to enforce social distancing guidelines along a parade route or during a fireworks display.

Reece called holding the fireworks on July 4 but postponing the rest of the celebration until Labor Day weekend “like having a party but without the guest of honor.” She suggested that everything, including the fireworks display, be moved to the end-of-summer holiday.

“If we wait until Labor Day, we might be able to have a live concert, we might be able to have a bigger event,” she said.

Ashley said he agreed with Reece.

“I don’t think it’s feasible that we can keep people apart,” he said, adding that he would like to move everything including the fireworks to Labor Day weekend.

Commissioner Andrew Wood disagreed.

“I think people are smart enough to know if they want” to place themselves in a situation involving a crowd, he said.

Mayor Charles Cotterill asked to see e-mails discussing the issue between McKay and Adams, but McKay said he did not have copies with him.

Cotterill asked if the BTHD would be willing to reach out and help the city monitor and police the event.

After a lengthy discussion, commissioner Wood introduced a motion to hold the fireworks display on the Fourth of July with a second from McKay. The vote on the issue was unanimously in favor.

More details on a Labor Day celebration will be released when they are available.

Last week, the city cancelled the annual Simon Kenton Festival in Old Washington out of concerns over social distancing and the reluctance of vendors to sign on for the festival. The city’s annual Win Festival, sponsored by the Maysville Players, has also been cancelled for 2020 over COVID-19 concerns.