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With reopening, socially distanced Fourth of July is here

SoVaNow.com / July 01, 2020
As a downward trend in coronavirus cases in Virginia continues, Phase Three of Gov. Ralph Northam’s plan to reopen the state has begun. Larger gatherings and outdoor activities can now be held, although precautions and rules on how to behave are expected to be around for some time.

Communities in Mecklenburg County are moving forward with plans to resurrect a patchwork of popular summertime events, albeit with some modifications. These had been on hold since the governor issued a stay at home order on March 13 that limited gatherings to 10 or fewer persons and shuttered entertainment venues, both indoor and outdoor.

Under Phase Three, the cap on the number of individuals allowed at most social gatherings increases from 50 to 250 people, though outdoor venues are allowed a maximum of 1,000 persons.

The easing of public health restrictions comes days before the 4th of July holiday. (Phase Three starts today, July 1). Here’s a look at what’s ahead for Independence Day and the summer in the Lake Country:

Holiday boat parades

Instead of the Town’s traditional July 4 Hometown Parade and picnic, Clarksville will be the scene of an informal gathering of boats that will parade on Buggs Island Lake to celebrate Independence Day. Boaters are encouraged to decorate their boats in red, white, and blue and join the flotilla that will assemble near the railroad bridge north of downtown Clarksville Saturday at 1 p.m.

On the eastern end of Mecklenburg, there’s also a patriotic spectacle on the water with the annual Lake Gaston Independence Day Boat Parade.

The line-up for the boat parade will be held at the mouth of Holly Grove Creek in Bracey, at mile marker 17, and the parade will start at 10:30 a.m. Saturday.

Contact Lake Gaston Community Information on Facebook for more information.

Fireworks

This year, the EXILED Motorcycle Club will be launching a full fireworks display near downtown Bracey Saturday starting at 9 p.m.. The club took over the event after hearing that the annual fireworks show at Eaton Ferry Bridge in Littleton, N.C. was canceled. The best viewing spots will be Golf Drive and Highway 903 in Bracey. Food will be available for purchase at Furr’s Hot Dogs and Deli, Topper’s Pizza, Subway and other local eateries.

Also, the Town of South Boston is holding its fireworks display on Saturday without additional activities or entertainment due to COVID-19 precautions. Spectators are encouraged to enjoy the display from your car, or your front porch if you are able to do so. If you do get out of your car, please practice social distancing, with masks being required, and guests are asked to maintain six feet distance from others. Most importantly, stay home if you are sick.

The fireworks show will begin at 9:30 pm in Downtown South Boston. The Southern Virginia Higher Education Center parking lot will be blocked off and unavailable to park in, as this area is where we shoot off the fireworks.

South Boston’s usual Fourth of July parade, music, and food festivities have been canceled.

Independence Day fireworks at Satterwhite Point, sponsored annually by Vance County Tourism (N.C.), have been postponed to Sunday, Sept. 6, over Labor Day weekend.

In other news of area festivals, concerts and celebrations:

Brent Morris, president of the South Hill Chamber of Commerce, said the Sunset Sounds concerts that take place on the third Thursday of the month will restart on July 16. On Aug. 7-8, the Chamber will hold its second annual Hot Fun in the Summertime Cruise-In/Car Show, and the second Sunset Sounds concert of the summer is set for Aug. 20.

South Hill will not be holding its annual Picnic In The Park celebration for the Fourth of July weekend, joining many other localities in canceling or downsizing traditional Independence Day holiday events.

Dale Hite said Clarksville’s Lake Life Live concert series will start anew on Aug. 1 with Jim Quick and Coastline Band. Two more concerts are planned for Sept. 6 and 20.

The July 4 Lake Life Live concert in Clarksville featuring the Band of Oz was postponed until July 3, 2021 due to the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19.

The Chase City airport had its first fly-in and breakfast this year June 27. These events, which are free to the public, will continue every fourth Saturday through October.

McCallum More Museum and Gardens in Chase City has a host of events planned for September and October, including an art reception for Eldridge Bagley on Sept. 20, Jazz in the Gardens on Sept. 27, and a Shrimp & Grits dinner on Oct. 10.

Limits on crowd gatherings have forced other groups to cancel or reschedule seasonal events. Boydton’s Bluegrass concert series has been scratched this year, and the annual 100-mile yard sale event that takes place in Chase City on the Fourth of July weekend was canceled earlier this spring.

Patrick Henry’s Red Hill in Brookneal has canceled its traditional Fourth of July fireworks show, but the historic homeplace of American patriot Patrick Henry will be open on Saturday for tours.

For those venturing out to these events, Northam urges caution. While announcing the move into Phase Three, he said, “this virus is still with us, and we must continue to adapt our lives around it and ensure we are keeping our vulnerable communities safe.”

For that reason, he said he left in place those health measures designed to reduce transmission of the virus such as wearing face coverings, maintaining physical distances of six feet, especially at large gatherings, and calling for those with high-risk health issues or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms to stay home.



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