Hilliard leaders announced Friday, May 8, the city will not hold its annual parade or fireworks show July 4.

The announcement comes in the wake of the closure of the city’s pools for the season and is a response to guidelines to limit the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

“As has happened with so many other things in 2020, July 4 will be different than in the past,” City Manager Michelle Crandall said. “We will not be able to gather as one community for Freedom Fest and for the parade because the health and safety of our community are more important than a single day’s celebration.”

The decision aligns with a joint announcement by the Central Ohio Mayors and Managers Association and the Franklin County Township Association, said David Ball, director of communications for Hilliard. The organizations recommended their member agencies postpone large-scale parades, festivals and fireworks.

The city will attempt to reschedule its fireworks display for a date later in 2020, Ball said.

Meanwhile, city leaders are contemplating a plan B.

Hilliard is developing alternative activities for the community that will allow residents to celebrate and share their patriotic pride while still respecting social-distancing guidelines, Ball said.

Residents with creative ideas for such communitywide activities that also take into account social distancing may email them to public@hilliardohio.gov.

Crandall and Hilliard City Council President Andy Teater said the decision is unfortunate but necessary.

“In so many ways, Independence Day represents the heart and spirit that makes Hilliard an amazing community,” Teater said. “(We) are developing some activities that will allow us to celebrate our American pride while staying safe.”

kcorvo@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekCorvo