No Red, White, and Boom, But There's Still Plenty Of Other Fireworks Shows To Catch in Peoria Area This Weekend
The Coronavirus pandemic put a stop to fourth of July celebrations around the nation in 2020. This year, the Red, White, and Boom celebration remains canceled: but many other area communities are bringing back their celebrations.
With Peoria and East Peoria's big fireworks show canceled for a second year, Pekin may lay claim to the area's largest Independence Day celebration this year.
“We were certainly disappointed last year that we were not able to host an in-person fireworks show. Certainly, gathering and enjoying this show together in the stadium is a long time Pekin tradition, and we’re excited that people are able to come back to that this year," said Amy McCoy, Executive Director of the Pekin Chamber of Commerce. She says the stadium is quite large and allows for adequate social distancing.
During Pekin’s celebration, a pre-fireworks show will begin at 7 p.m., and the fireworks will start at 9 p.m. McCoy says the pre-fireworks show will be fun and interactive for all ages, and she encourages families to come early to the show.
Amber Harmon from the Eureka Events Committee says she was saddened to cancel the celebration last year, but because more people are becoming vaccinated in 2021, she believes Eureka can safely host a more normal fourth of July.
“We’re just being cautious. We’re spreading people out more. We’ve looked at the different games versus jumpies (inflatable bounce houses). So, I think even though we’d like to get back to normal, we’re still taking into consideration some of the things we need to," said Harmon.
Eureka will host a parade on July 3. Then on July 4, there will be a community breakfast and a community church service in the morning, and several food trucks and covid-friendly games will be open for guests from 11 a.m. until the fireworks show at dusk.
Harmon added that some of the vendors from past years’ fourth of July celebrations had to shut down their food trucks and businesses because of the pandemic, so she is grateful that Boommin Barbeque, Uncle Bob’s homemade ice cream, El Taco Rico, and more can return for Eureka’s celebration.
“I think it’s basically just getting out and being together again," she said. "I think it will probably be a little bit of a bigger celebration this year because of the last year we’ve been through, but I think it will just be community oriented.”
Other communities are cancelling their fireworks shows this year because of the unpredictability of the pandemic.
Nick Conrad, Supervisor of Riverfront Events at the Peoria Park District, says during May, the park district had deadlines with fireworks companies and had to make the tough decision to cancel the Glen Oak Park fireworks again amid continuing uncertainty around the COVID-19 pandemic guidelines.
“Public safety is at the forefront of what we do, so at the time, we made the best decision. We’re happy that some other events and activities are going on around the holidays, and we’ve got several other activities ourselves that are going on and opening back up. So, we’re focusing a lot of energy on those, and we hope to be back next year with those events," Conrad said.
Many communities financially suffered amid stay-at-home orders and COVID-19 mitigations. Fireworks opportunities may provide one of the first big opportunities for businesses to thrive again as things reopen.
The Pekin Chamber's Amy McCoy says without the business community that comes together each year, the fourth of July celebrations would be impossible.
“We are blessed with many community business sponsors that put on this event. We’re grateful to provide this opportunity for those businesses, but also to provide the opportunity for the community to have a little more sense of normal," she said.
Officials remind those celebrating the 4th to remember to protect themselves and others this holiday weekend by following CDC guidelines at community celebrations.