Howard County Executive Calvin Ball announced Wednesday that the county will host an expanded Fourth of July celebration at Lake Kittamaqundi to what was previously planned, including music, live entertainment and food trucks.
Ball used the announcement of the expanded event to urge residents to encourage one another to get vaccinated against COVID-19 before July 4.
“We did not get here by chance, and we’re grateful to all of our residents who have taken the important step of getting vaccinated to protect themselves and their loved ones,” Ball said in a statement. “These important vaccine milestones allow us to host summer celebrations and events safely, and we can’t wait to see our community together once again.”
Howard County currently has the highest vaccination numbers in Maryland.
More than 80% of Howard County’s eligible residents — those ages 12 and older — have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and 73% of those residents are fully vaccinated, according to Howard County Health Officer Dr. Maura Rossman.
Rossman also said approximately 52,000 Howard County residents have not started the vaccine process, and 40% of those ages 12 to 18 have not yet received a vaccination.
Ball had previously said the Fourth of July celebration would include fireworks at the lakefront but would be a “scaled-back version” without entertainment or food. Because of the county’s high vaccination rates and Gov. Larry Hogan’s recent announcement that the state will be ending most of its coronavirus emergency restrictions including the mask mandate on July 1, Howard is able to hold a more traditional celebration this year, Ball said.
Those residents who have not been vaccinated are asked to continue wearing a mask and maintaining social distancing when attending the celebration.
The 20-minute fireworks show will begin around 9:20 p.m. July 4 at Lake Kittamaqundi in Columbia, according to Raul Delerme, director of Howard County’s Department of Recreation and Parks. The department is asking fireworks attendees to wait until after 3 p.m. to lay down blankets.
Food trucks that will be at the celebration include Kona Ice, Blowfish Poke, Dee’s Food and Snack Shack, Althea’s Almost Famous, Bullhead Pitt Beef, Green’s Kettle Corn, Ravin’ and Cravin’ Food Truck, and Flair Cuisine.
Local bands Pebble to Pearl and Groovalicious will serve as live entertainment. The national anthem will be performed by a high school student.
This year’s event will also include a premium location for viewing the festivities that includes a dinner buffet and cash bar, provided by the Inner Arbor Trust and the Columbia Association. Proceeds from the sales will raise funds for free arts programming in downtown Columbia.
Latest Howard County
“After a year kept apart, we are thrilled to bring art and joy to this community — and we are excited to also raise funds for our free community performance series at the Chrysalis, beginning in July,” said Nina Basu, Inner Arbor Trust president and CEO, in a statement.