There will be fireworks in Steelville for the Fourth of July, but the annual Freedom Fest will not take place as it has in the past.
Steelville Area Chamber of Commerce President Tamra Cape approached the city council at its meeting on Monday, May 18, to discuss potential plans for this year’s Fourth of July celebrations.
“We’re working on what it might look like this year,” Cape told the council, noting that Becky Simpson is the chairperson for the event, and thought “it might be best this year just to do fireworks and not do the all-day event with food and vendors.”
The Chamber was seeking permission from the council to utilize the Steelville Community Park for the event, whether it is simply a fireworks display, or the full event that includes vendors, a car show, and entertainment.
The first option—to provide a fireworks display only—would allow for vehicles to enter the park. Visitors would be asked to remain in family units and watch the display from their vehicle or on the lawn, maintaining six feet of social distancing. If there is only a fireworks display, no entry fee would be charged, but donations would be accepted at the gate.
The second option—for the full festival—would include food and craft booths, a car show, entertainment, and fireworks. While vendors would be spaced out appropriately, and social distancing would be promoted, it would not be feasible to keep all people six feet apart for the event. If the full event is held, a fee of $5 per vehicle that enters the park would be collected.
Cape noted the Chamber needed an answer from the city at least on the fireworks portion of the event so they could be ordered. The Chamber normally orders them in April, but had held off because of the current situation. As a result, Cape said the fee has already increased by $1,000 to $3,000. She said they could be ordered as late as June 1, but the cost would increase again.
Following discussion among the council, Alderwoman Amanda Sherrill made a motion to allow the fireworks display at this time, and reconsider the full festival closer to the date. A majority vote allowed the motion to carry, although Alderman Bill Bennett voted simply “present” but not in favor of the motion, expressing concern that the Chamber could lose money if the fireworks display had to be canceled as well.
The Chamber met on Tuesday, May 19, and Cape reported it was determined to have fireworks only. The Chamber also canceled the annual dinner which had been scheduled for March, but was not held because of the COVID-19 situation. Cape reported there will be a short program before the fireworks to announce the Citizen of the Year and the Business of the Year winners, and to recognize those who had been nominated.
Chamber volunteers will be calling those who had purchased tickets for the annual dinner this week. They will be offered a refund or they can apply the cost towards tickets for the annual progressive dinner which is planned for this fall.
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