MACEDONIA — Many communities have canceled events due to COVID-19, but the city’s July 4 fireworks show in Longwood Park is ready to go, with some health-related restrictions in place.
And spectators may want to show up early.
"The fireworks we’re really excited to have," said Mayor Nick Molnar. "Our law director has called down to the state to make sure we are good to go and they gave us the green light. There are going to be a lot of restrictions in place that we’ll have signage for out front when you pull in.
"There will be social distancing and we ask everyone to follow the guidelines set forth by the state for that. Additionally, we expect to have quite a few people so it’s likely we’ll have to turn people away when we hit capacity."
The fireworks normally take place during the annual Spirit of Macedonia FunFest, which was canceled this year. Molnar said the $15,000 pyrotechnic cost is being covered by proceeds from last year’s festival, with the city paying half that cost upfront months ago.
In addition, Sagamore Hills resident Kristine Bissler is the event’s presenting sponsor after she provided $1,100 for other costs.
"That might actually cover pretty much all of our expenses," said Molnar, referring to overtime pay for police and service department workers.
"I really wanted to shine a little light on the community during these unknown times — bring folks together and focus on the good stuff," said Bissler. "Far too often it gets overlooked. I’ve always been told the saying, ‘Change the way you look at things and things change.’"
Bissler said she mainly wants to highlight a fundraiser she’s doing in connection with her role as a realtor with RE/MAX Traditions on behalf of the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. The effort included prizes, mainly an opportunity to not only to take a ride in, but to help operate the RE/MAX balloon.
The fireworks show at Longwood park, 1494 East Aurora Road, is scheduled to begin at 9:45 p.m. July 4, with July 5 as the rain date.
"It’s usually about a 20-minute show, a 20- to 25-minute show," said Brad Wisniewski, membership and marketing coordinator with the Macedonia Family Recreation Center. "This year, because of the location, there won’t be any ground fireworks. It’s going to be an overhead show so you can see it no matter where you are in the park here."
Parking will be available starting at 7 p.m. Wisniewski said the fireworks will be shot off from the soccer fields on the north side of Route 82 and parking will be on the south side. The Rec Center parking lot will be the first one filled, with plans to also use a grass field just to the east of the lot and a gravel parking lot used for the baseball fields to the south. It is also possible that a field farther to the east where the FunFest is held, on the other side of the Longwood Manor House, may also be used, said Wisniewski.
It is suggested that those wishing to attend arrive at 7 p.m. or as soon after as feasible.
"We’re expecting a huge turnout, being one of the only places offering fireworks," said Wisniewski. "We’re going to try and get everybody in that we can, but we do expect to fill up and expect that people will not have a spot."
City officials say the event will be a drive-in format that will comply with CDC and state health and safety guidelines. Those attending the show are encouraged to remain in or near their vehicles for the duration of the program and practice responsible social distancing. Grilling, yard games and other traditional tailgating activities will not be permitted. There will be no food vendors at the event. Guests are welcome to bring their own food and drinks, to be consumed inside their vehicles, but alcoholic beverages are prohibited.
Visit the recreation department’s website at MacRec.com or the city’s website at www.macedonia.oh.us for more information about the event.
"I would say we always get a nice turnout when we do this as part of the festival," said Wisniewski. "I think this year, you can expect to see another great show by American Fireworks."
Reporter Jeff Saunders can be reached at email@example.com or @JeffSaunders_RP.