Nearly two months ahead of Independence Day, the Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks on Friday announced the cancellation of the Fourth of July fireworks at the Columbia lakefront due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Howard County Executive Calvin Ball said Friday morning in a virtual press conference that the county wasn’t comfortable with holding the fireworks celebration that generally attracts a large crowd.
“We have made the difficult decision to cancel our July 4 fireworks celebration hosted annually at Lake Kittamaqundi in Columbia,” Ball said Friday. “Our fireworks celebrations draw large crowds of generally between 20,000 and 30,000 residents and visitors, and we do not anticipate being in a place in early July where it will be safe for that many people to gather, not just from our county [or] our state but frankly from around our region.”
The rec and parks department also extended its cancellation of all weddings and other large gatherings at its facilities through at least June 14 and all programs, classes, events and leagues are canceled through at least May 31. Each engaged couple was contacted by the department with options to obtain a refund or to reschedule.
The county will reevaluate the future of weddings and other large gatherings by May 15, according to a county news release.
The cancellation announcements come two days after the county eased its restrictions on parks and exercising areas. Following Gov. Larry Hogan’s announcement Wednesday to open the state’s beaches and parks, the county reopened its park gates, tennis courts, pickleball courts, disc golf courts, bocce ball courts, recreational fishing, boating and the Timbers at Troy golf course on Thursday.