Bexley's Fourth of July events scaled back to observe distancing
Bexley's Fourth of July activities have been scaled down this year, based on input from the city's COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic task force and the Bexley Celebrations Association, city officials say.
They said despite the need for social-distancing measures, Independence Day events are intended to promote the same spirit of community as in years past.
In place of the traditional parade, this year's event will take the form of a "Front Yard Parade in the Round."
Residents are being encouraged to post patriotic decorations in their front yards and station themselves there to view small floats, vintage vehicles and local musical acts as they pass through neighborhoods from 6 to 9 p.m. July 4, said Sam Metcalf, city spokesman.
"Be outside, engage with your family, but stay in your own yard and make sure you're distancing," he said. "We'll have some floats where all of the participants are in the same household or the same car.
"Others will be safely distanced. Each will have a specific area of the city to traverse, street-wise," Metcalf said. "Each house will see something, but it won't be what you typically think of as a parade."
At 9 p.m., the city will hold an online celebration that will include recognition of the Bexley Citizen of the Year, appearances by city officials and community members and a broadcast of a fireworks display from a previous Bexley Fourth of July celebration. Details are available at Bexley.org/fourth.
Another Independence Day tradition that will proceed this year in a different format is the annual John Barr 5K run.
Rather than gathering in one location July 4, runners and walkers are being asked to devise their own routes from July 2 through 6 and post their results via the Racejoy app or website, said Natalie Mullin, Bexley Recreation and Parks Department deputy director.
"In general, we're doing it this way to give more than just a day or two," she said.
"I assume a lot of people will choose to run the north Bexley route."
For the John Barr 5K run, the Recreation and Parks Department is partnering with the Columbus Running Co. to encourage runners to post their results using the Racejoy app or uploading them to Racejoy.com, Mullins said.
Proceeds will benefit the department's Youth Scholarship Fund, which covers the costs of recreation activities for young people in need.
Participants don't necessarily have to run or walk to be a part of the event, Mullins said.
"You can just register for the race to support the community," she said.
"You'll still get a shirt, you'll still get a goodie bag. If you don't end up uploading your race time, you're still supporting the cause."
For more information about Bexley's Independence Day activities, go to Bexley.org/fourth.