Fourth of July celebrations this year have almost totally fizzled out, especially in Franklin County.
The county's only traditional Fourth of July parade, held annually in Alert, has been canceled.
Organizer Melanie Bobbitt said that while her organization is "very disappointed" to have to cancel, the many restrictions and guidelines in place this year, ranging from social distancing, wearing masks and not throwing candy, resulted in the parade's cancellation.
Given all those restrictions, she said, the parade "would not have been enjoyable, especially for the kids."
She added that "we do want everyone to stay safe and healthy. We appreciate each and every one of you for your support and hope to see you here next year to celebrate."
Fireworks displays have also fizzled around the area.
Cancelled are the displays normally presented by Franklin County, the town of Franklinton, Lake Royale and the town of Castalia.
Interestingly, the town of Wake Forest is planning to offer a "virtual" fireworks display that can be watched via computer or television.
At about 9:15 p.m. on Friday July 3, Wake Forest will share on its Facebook page an Independence Day message featuring Uncle Sam, Lady Liberty and the Wake Forest Board of Commissioners before livestreaming fireworks via Facebook at 9:30 p.m. The entire program will be re-broadcast on WFTV 10 (Spectrum channel 10) throughout July.
"It was especially important for us to provide the fireworks show this year in some form or fashion," said Mayor Vivian Jones. "Considering all the programs and events that have been canceled due to COVID-19, we wanted to offer a way for our community to celebrate this special holiday."
The fireworks will light up the sky from the launch site along the Sanford Creek Greenway - near Heritage High School's Husky Stadium. To prevent large public gatherings, the Heritage High School campus will be closed to vehicle parking and in-person fireworks viewers beginning Friday, July 3, at 3 p.m.
Vehicle parking and in-person viewing will also be prohibited along the streets and greenways surrounding the campus. Nearby sections of greenway will be closed throughout the day beginning at 7 a.m. Foundation Drive will also be closed.
"Although we would prefer to gather in-person with family and friends as we normally do to enjoy the fireworks show, the virtual option will allow us to enjoy the display while helping ensure the health and safety of our community," added Mayor Jones.