Fireworks in Gahanna have fizzled out for the Fourth of July, but leaders hope to light up the sky Labor Day weekend as an alternative.
Out of concern for public health and the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, Gahanna officials announced in a May 8 press release they would postpone the traditional Fourth of July events.
The decision aligns with a joint recommendation issued earlier May 8 by the Central Ohio Mayors and Managers Association and the Franklin County Township Association to cancel or postpone July 4 activities.
“The health and well-being of our residents must be our primary concern, particularly as we continue to navigate the circumstances caused by the coronavirus,” said Laurie Jadwin, Gahanna’s mayor. “As difficult as this decision is, it is the right decision to make at this time, given all of the uncertainty we are facing regarding our ability to hold gatherings in less than two months.”
Rather than cancel the fireworks display that had been planned, Gahanna has rescheduled it for Labor Day weekend.
“As a long-term resident myself, I understand how disappointing this is for our community,” Jadwin said. “We all had many plans for 2020, but we remain hopeful that we will be able to have a celebration later this year.”
The annual Independence Day Parade, presented by the Gahanna Lions Club in partnership with the city, has been canceled for July 4.
This year would have marked the 75th anniversary of the parade.
Stephania Bernard-Ferrell, Gahanna’s parks and recreation director, said her team is working with the Lions Club to explore options for rescheduling the parade later this year.
“If there is any opportunity at all for the city to be able to hold the parade yet this year, we will do everything we can to make it happen,” she said.
Gahanna’s announcement came the day after organizers of Red, White & Boom in Columbus released plans to cancel this year’s fireworks display and develop an alternate celebration.
“We don’t know when we will be able to gather in celebration and to reclaim a special piece of our community fabric, but we will do so,” said Nancy White, Mifflin Township administrator and FCTA vice president. “In the meantime, we ask our residents for their patience and understanding and to continue to unite with us in our efforts to safely navigate the pandemic. Our sacrifices now will bring us back together that much sooner.”
Jamie Leeseberg, Gahanna City Council president, said he is hopeful the community will find safe and creative ways to celebrate with family and friends without the risk associated with large gatherings of people at a public event.