No citywide celebrations will be held July 4 in Pickerington this year.

Although last year's Independence Day fireworks display in Pickerington was moved to July 3 after pockets of crowds in Victory Park had become unruly in recent years, the annual community parade was held, as usual, July 4.

That will not be the case this year.

Pickerington officials announced June 19 that this year's parade and festivities in Victory Park have been canceled amid ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic concerns.

However, a short fireworks display, which residents would be encouraged to view from their homes, remains a possibility, city officials said.

"We want to mark our nation's birthday with fireworks and are working with our supplier to see if an abbreviated 3-minute show, with higher burst, is a possibility," City Manager Greg Butcher said in a news release. "If that's the case, there will be no public viewing locations, and residents will be encouraged to watch from home.

"Additionally, vehicle traffic will be restricted in downtown Pickerington, and parking will be prohibited." Butcher said. "This was definitely not a decision we made easily, but after much discussion and careful consideration, we determined that this is the best option to celebrate our great country while still keeping our residents safe."

According to the news release, the decision to keep parks and public viewing locations closed was made after the city of Columbus canceled its annual Red, White & Boom! festivities.

"We never wavered in our desire to provide Pickerington residents a fireworks display, but we don't want to risk large crowds traveling here so we're closing all of our parks and larger-congregating areas," on July 4, Butcher said.

Mayor Lee Gray said the decision was difficult but was made to protect residents and other people who otherwise might turn out for events.

"It's an unusual year, a difficult year, but we have made what we feel is the best decision for Pickerington," Gray said. "We will still celebrate, but from the comfort of our own homes. As difficult as these decisions were, the health and safety of our community will always come first."

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