Urbana fireworks still on, other Independence Day events canceled

The Urbana firework show at the Grimes Field Airport is still on while other Independence Day events like the car show, chicken barbecue and concert have been canceled.

President of the Urbana Rotary Club Paul Waldsmith explained that usually on the Fourth of July there is a car show, chicken barbecue and concert during the day and early evening. The night is then concluded with fireworks.

The Urbana Rotary Club usually hosts the chicken barbecue.

“That’s not happening this year,” Waldsmith said. “The club really studied the numbers and with uncertainties it didn’t make sense for us to either lose money or barely break even - that demands so much energy and time.”

The Champaign County Arts Council, who organizes the concert, said in a post on their Facebook page at the end of May, “After a long and hard deliberation and with the health and well being of our community in mind, we have decided to cancel all concerts this summer.”

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The Champaign Cruisers also posted on Facebook that their Firecracker Car, Truck and Bike Show at Skelley Lumber Co. is canceled.

Even though the other events are canceled, Waldsmith said “We’re still pleased the fireworks are taking place this year.”

On Tuesday, Lt. Gov, Jon Husted said fireworks shows are not prohibited, but large gatherings are limited. For the shows that are still scheduled, Husted asked organizers do so in a safe manner.

Waldsmith told the News-Sun that the gates to get inside the airport grounds will not be open this year.

“If people want to go out to the airport to watch the fireworks they are welcome to, but they will need to basically park their cars off of 68 in a socially distanced, safe manner,” Waldsmith said.

He added, “People will be able to have a good view of the fireworks from the roadside, so I would say there’s really no need to let people inside the airport grounds.”

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The Rotary was able to sponsor the fireworks this year because community supporters underwrote the costs.

“It’s nice when communities can come together. The Fourth of July, Independence Day, is worth celebrating in and of itself,” Waldsmith said. “The community supporters who encouraged Rotary to put it on and underwrote the costs just felt strongly that they wanted the city of Urbana to have fireworks this year.”

The firework show will begin at 10 p.m. on Saturday, July 4 at 1636 N. Main St.

“We just want people to stay safe and be responsible when they are there,” Waldsmith added.

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