The forecast for many of this year's 4th of July weekend plans in many local communities is looking relatively quiet and dark. The coronavirus pandemic has called for the cancellation of many public fireworks displays in the area, including Ratcliff's Firework show.
The PACC, in conjunction with the City of Paris, has decided to move forward with plans and will be hosting the annual Fourth of July Fireworks over Paris on Friday, July 3, beginning at approximately 8:45 p.m. at Wood St. Park.
PACC Director Tonya Baumgartner said, "Celebrating holidays is always important for our community and the Fourth of July celebration is no exception. The festivity celebrates our independence and we want the citizens to have a sense of normalcy in the world that's become so uncertain."
The PARIS board of directors unanimously voted to continue the fireworks over Paris display and increased the budget with the help of sponsorships for a bigger fireworks show. Free water will be handed out under the pavilion by the local Boy and Cub Scouts.
"We feel it's very important during times like this to offer a fun family environment while practicing social distancing."
PACC and the City of Paris are asking the community to practice 6- feet of social distancing between families and masks are encouraged.
"Bring a picnic and enjoy Wood Street Park while you are waiting on the show! We want everyone to come out and have a good time."
According to Baumgartner, the 2nd Annual Bicycle Decoration Contest, sponsored by Dari Delite, has been changed to a virtual bike contest this year.
"Due to the recent Covid-19 case increases, we have opted to host a virtual bike contest this year. The contest will showcase the creative, patriotic creations of kids as they display tricked out rides via social media.
"We can't wait to see your kiddo's and their patriotic bikes."
To enter your child in the virtual bicycle decoration contest, submit a photo of your child, with their decorated bike, to firstname.lastname@example.org. The photo, on the PACC Facebook Page, with the most likes by noon on July 2, will be the winner.
The contest is open for ages 2-12 and all participants will receive a Dari Delite ice cream cone.
The New Blaine VFD has also decided to continue its Firework Show this year, amid the pandemic. Last year, the VFD canceled the firework show due to the flooding of the New Blaine Park.
The firework show will take place on Saturday, July 4, at dark.
"We normally have food, fire truck rides and other activities," said Tim Gehring, "but because of COVID-19, we are just having the firework display.
Gehring said that he consulted with the Arkansas Department of Health and decided that having just the show was the safest way to protect the community.
"We ask guests to follow social distancing, stay with their vehicles and keep apart from groups.
The New Blaine Firework Show stays alive and takes place every year due to donations from the community.
"Normally we have guys walking around in the crowd with buckets taking donations that go toward the next year's show. We didn't want to put any of our firefighters at risk, so we are asking for anyone who would like to donate to send to our P.O Box."
Gehring said that the department has a really nice display this year.
"It is going to be a good show. We are expecting about 3500 people."
Donations can be the New Blaine VFD, P.O. Box 52, New Blaine, Ar. 72851 or contact Tim Gehring at 479-264-5943.