Fireworks won’t light up the night sky in Reynoldsburg to celebrate Independence Day.

The city May 8 announced it will not hold its traditional Independence Day events, which were scheduled for July 3, because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

The city is “exploring the feasibility of fireworks later in the year,” said spokeswoman Jennifer Clemens. “The mayor, along with City Council, will discuss those options as more information about public gathering is released by Gov. (Mike) DeWine in his Responsible Restart Ohio plan.”

Reynoldsburg’s decision aligns with a joint announcement by the Central Ohio Mayors and Managers Association and the Franklin County Township Association, which advised member municipalities to cancel or postpone Fourth of July celebrations.

"Like many of you, I was looking forward to capping off our country’s birthday with our amazing fireworks display. Unfortunately, this year will be a little different," Mayor Joe Begeny said. "This was not an easy decision. As we talked through different scenarios it became clear that postponing the evening community event and fireworks finale, held in Civic Park, was the right decision for the health and well-being of our residents.”

“In the meantime, I thank you for your patience and understand as we navigate these interesting times, and I look forward to celebrating as a community in the future."

The city will meet next week with representatives from the Reynoldsburg Community Association, who organizes the July Fourth parade, to determine if it will be postponed or canceled, Clemens said.

Reynoldsburg spends about $30,000 annually on its fireworks display by contracting with an outside vendor.

Begeny said the city will determine the fate of the three-day Tomato Festival by June 29.

Started in 1965, the festival honors Reynoldsburg’s claim to fame as the birthplace of a sweeter, edible tomato created by resident Alexander W. Livingston. In 1870, he was the first to upgrade the wild tomato plant.

City Council in March approved a $60,000 contract with MPE to serve as a booking agent for the 2020 festival, scheduled for Aug. 6-8 at Huber Park.

“We have until one month before the event to cancel to limit our costs,” Begeny said. “We are still holding out hope for the Tomato Festival.”

For the latest information on the city’s COVID-19 response, go to ci.reynoldsburg.oh.us.

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