Hoosiers preserve Independence Day traditions while following public health guidelines

WHITESTOWN, Ind. (WISH) — Communities across central Indiana are finding creative and socially responsible ways to celebrate Independence Day as COVID-19 cases surge in other states.

Whitestown officials launched a fireworks show Friday night at Eagle Church on Main Street, but did not allow spectators to gather on the church campus.

Residents were observed heeding social distancing guidelines by watching the fireworks from their vehicles, yards and lawn chairs spaced apart on sidewalks.

“God bless America!” several drivers shouted while driving past the display.

The Whitestown fireworks show was also livestreamed on the town’s Facebook and YouTube pages.

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No large gatherings were reported near Eagle Church.

On Saturday, the city of Noblesville will host modified versions of its annual parade and fireworks festival.

The parade is scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m. at the corner of 16th and Harrison streets. The parade route was extended by four streets to give residents more space to maintain social distance, city officials said.

Sanitizing stations will be located throughout Forest Park during the festival. Attractions featured in previous years – including “kids zone” Inflatables, face painters, rock climbing walls and zip lines – will not be permitted on Saturday.

Federal Hill Commons will be opened as a public viewing area before the fireworks display begins at 10 p.m.

The city will livestream the show on its social media pages.

“I think the important thing this year is to give folks in Noblesville [viewing] options,” Noblesville mayor Chris Jensen told News 8.

On Sunday, a Greenwood-based human resources company will host a 10 p.m. fireworks show on the southeast corner of State Road 135 and Stones Crossing Road in Johnson County.

Brent Tilson, the CEO of the company, urged spectators to watch from their homes or vehicles.

“The area [where Ramsey Pyrotechnics will launch the fireworks] is in a big farm field,” Tilson said. “So the whole idea is [to] stay home. If you do venture close, stay in your car, social distance [and] do all the right things.”

He compared Independence Day without fireworks to “Christmas without Santa Claus.”

“This year’s display is about recognizing we are all in this together and celebrating our ongoing independence,” he said. “I think Indiana’s doing it right.”