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Akron Plans 4th of July Fireworks Show Viewable from Neighborhoods

a photo of fireworks
The fireworks show will still be 20 minutes long according to Akron deputy mayor James Hardy.

The city of Akron has developed plans to mark the 4th of July with traditional fireworks, in a non-traditional way. The city will launch a synchronized display from four separate locations so residents can remain at home and still see fireworks, while maintaining safe social distancing. 

"By spreading out our fireworks displays into our neighborhoods, we can create a safe way for our community to share a meaningful experience while preserving physical distance," stated Mayor Dan Horrigan in a prepared press release announcing the plan. 

Before the synchronized display begins at 9:45 p.m. on Saturday, July 4 the city will ignite three test shots so residents can determine the best place for viewing.

The test shots will be fired at 8:30 p.m., 9:00 p.m., and 9:30 p.m. The launch location sites include the State Street Parking Deck downtown, Summit Lake to the south, Patterson Park Ballfields to the north, and Akron Executive Airport to the east. Perimeters will be secured around each launch site and people will not be permitted nearby.  

The city strongly encourages people to view the display from their own home or neighborhood. If they leave their property or their car, they're encouraged to wear a mask and maintain 6 feet of distance with other people to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. A patriotic soundtrack to accompany the display will be aired on 97.5 FM. 

“With so many summer activities on hold or cancelled this year, it was important that we were able to maintain one of our Fourth of July traditions,” Horrigan said.

The display is being organized by the city's Office of Integrated Development. Deputy Mayor James Hardy says it will be slightly more expensive to put on this display, but because the city has canceled so many events this summer, they're able to do it. 

“With the millions in savings that we’ve generated from having to cancel all those things, having a slightly more expensive 4th of July but doing it in a way that ensures A) we keep this tradition going and B) we do it in a way that’s safe, I think is something that we--an additional cost that’s more than willing to accept for us.”

Akron's minor league baseball team, the RubberDucks, is sponsoring the downtown display and will open up Canal Park for safe, socially-distant viewing of the fireworks. 

“These are trying times in our country, our state, and our city," Horrigan said. "And it’s important that we take a moment to celebrate and recommit to our highest national ideals." 

A Northeast Ohio native, Sarah Taylor graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio where she worked at her first NPR station, WMUB. She began her professional career at WCKY-AM in Cincinnati and spent two decades in television news, the bulk of them at WKBN in Youngstown (as Sarah Eisler). For the past three years, Sarah has taught a variety of courses in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Kent State, where she is also pursuing a Master’s degree. Sarah and her husband Scott, have two children. They live in Tallmadge.