For some who gathered in downtown Springfield on Saturday to watch the Clark County fireworks show, it was a sign that things are returning to normal as the coronavirus pandemic prevented such gatherings last year.
People gathered around the area to watch as the annual event returned this year at a new location with a new name, the Buck Creek Boom.
Fireworks were viewable from several locations throughout downtown Springfield as well as the surrounding area because the display was launched Saturday night along Ferncliff at the banks of Buck Creek.
Traditionally a large number of people would gather in one area at the Clark County Fairgrounds in order to watch the display. However, the change in location made the show visible in the downtown area, allowing people to gather in many different locations.
The event to celebrate Independence Day was organized by the National Trail Parks and Recreation District.
The 2020 event was cancelled due to restrictions related to the pandemic.
The change also allowed dozens to gather on the third-floor roof of the downtown parking garage, known as Park at 99 and located at 99 N. Fountain Ave. People were there for a fireworks viewing party that was hosted by the Greater Springfield Partnership.
Families set up lawn chairs and blankets to watch the fireworks, while children danced to music that echoed across the rooftop. The event featured a DJ as well as a lemonade stand. Others played with glowsticks as the sun went down, while some lit up sparklers.
“We saw it as an incredible opportunity to gather as a community again, have everyone come down and celebrate together,” said John Kelly, the downtown events programmer for the Greater Springfield Partnership.
“The past 14 months have been difficult. But this is a great way of really celebrating together. While everyone is here having fun, enjoying the music, watching the fireworks, all the downtown businesses are getting people to come in and shop,” he added.
Some at the event said more people are starting to feel comfortable gathering again as state restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic have been lifted and vaccinations are available.
Kelly said that his organization wanted to make sure people were comfortable and as a result there has been a focus on outside events where people can social distance.
Amy Ray, a resident of Springfield, who attended the event on Saturday said it felt good that people were able to gather for the Fourth of July again.
“I have been out of work as a chef since march of 2020. To see this many people together on a rooftop is absolutely amazing,” Ray said.
Last year, she said that she gathered with a few friends for the holiday. But it was very socially distanced.
“Everybody had their own tents and their own space in our backyard,” she added.
Ray said that as long as people are being honest about receiving the vaccination then gatherings like what occurred in downtown are a sign that more people are willing to come back together.
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