Fireworks canceled

A crowd gathered at Mary Ross Waterfront Park for the city of Brunswick’s Old Fashioned Fourth of July in 2019.

Fourth of July events around the Golden Isles are getting canned this year due to COVID-19.

Glynn County’s fireworks display on St. Simons Island typically draws a big crowd to Neptune Park, but county government plans to forgo the event.

An executive order issued by Gov. Brian Kemp mandates that local authorities enforce a six-foot distance between unrelated people and bans gatherings of more than 10 outright unless the participants are keeping their distance.

Enforcing such rules during a popular event like July 4th is not feasible, said Glynn County spokesman Matthew Kent.

“For as many people as typically are jammed in there, I don’t know how we can enforce social distancing,” Kent said.

Glynn County Commission Chairman Mike Browning said an event like the Fourth of July requires a large amount of planning and a decision had to be made early.

Labor Day might be a good time for a “make-up day” event, he added.

Jekyll Island’s Independence Day event also has been canceled, according to Alexa Orndoff, spokeswoman for the Jekyll Island Authority. She also cited social distancing guidelines as a reason.

“Island-wide fall and winter events are still being evaluated and visitors are encouraged to check the island events calendar regularly for updates or cancellations as event dates get closer,” Orndoff said.

While the city of Brunswick hasn’t officially announced its intentions, Mayor Cornell Harvey said the city commission will discuss it and likely come to a decision in line with the county and Jekyll Island.

“The city manager may recommend we cancel it,” Harvey said.

In Camden County, St. Marys will not celebrate the nation’s birthday for the first time in 51 years. The annual festival, sponsored by the St. Marys Kiwanis Club, typically attracts 20,000 to 25,000 people, many staying for the fireworks display.

The fireworks display has been rescheduled for Oct. 3, the day of the St. Marys Rock Shrimp Festival, another daylong event sponsored by the Kiwanis Club that attracts large crowds.

While July Fourth events generally attract a lot of visitors to area beaches, Golden Isles Convention and Visitors Bureau President and CEO Scott McQuade said he doesn’t believe it will impact local tourism drastically.

“The Fourth of July also falls on a weekend this year, and we anticipate having a strong showing of visitors despite the cancellation,” McQuade said.

“We expect the demand to be strong for this holiday weekend, and we anticipate plenty of visitors who will come to enjoy the Golden Isles.”

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