Fourth of July illustration

With the growing spread of the coronavirus, Independence Day celebrations are going to look a little different this year.  Several events across the Ozarks have been canceled, but several cities outside Springfield will host fireworks displays.

Independence Day will have a new look this year.

COVID-19 has forced many events to change their structure, while other celebrations have been outright canceled. 

Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, provided a telebriefing update on June 25 as Independence Day draws closer.

“As states continue to adjust mitigation efforts, I want to remind you about how to protect yourself, your family and your community in advance of the Fourth of July holiday,” Redfield said, “It’s important for all of us to try the best we can to continue to take steps that we know are effective in preventing COVID-19.”

Organizers of events across the Ozarks are taking steps to make sure these guidelines can be followed.

It’s important to note that there are strict regulations for setting off and possessing fireworks in certain cities, including Springfield. More information regarding firework sales and use can be found on the Missouri Department of Public Safety website. If used according to local regulations, enjoying fireworks with a small group of socially distanced friends and family could be a safe way to celebrate the holiday.

However, it’s not necessary to spend money when a handful of communities in the Ozarks put on their own fireworks displays free to the public.

Willard, a town about 14 miles northwest of campus off Highway 160, annually hosts Freedom Fest, an event that normally includes food, vendors, activities, live entertainment and a large firework display.

“The city of Willard and Willard Parks will be shooting off fireworks on the east edge of the city to mark the occasion of our town’s long-standing tradition of Freedom Fest,” an official statement from the city reads. “The fireworks will be shot from the fields directly east of the Apple Market in Willard, Missouri. The shoot site will not be open to spectators for safety and fire code reasons.” 

Due to the ongoing pandemic, the Willard City Council has canceled everything except for the fireworks and encourages citizens to view the display from the comfort of their homes and yards. Willard High School and Prairie View Shopping Center are listed as suitable locations for those who can’t. 

The Branson Landing will continue to host its 13th Annual Liberty Light Up. This event will consist of performances from Mile Zero and The Dirty Saints, a beer garden and, of course, fireworks. Festivities begin at 4 p.m. at the Branson Landing on July 3.

Various other Ozarks communities are also setting off fireworks for the public: 

  • Fireworks will be shot off at Port Randall Resort in Lake of the Ozarks on July 4 at about 9:15 p.m. 

  • The Table Rock Lake Chamber of Commerce is putting on a fireworks show at 9 p.m. on July 3, right above the Kimberling City bridge along Route 13

  • Marshfield’s 141st Independence Day Parade is at 10 a.m. on July 4.

  • Midtown Springfield will host a parade and celebration at 10 a.m. on July 4, located along Benton street north of Central High School in Springfield.

The Greene County Health Department has provided guidelines, which can be found here that should continue to be followed as Independence Day approaches and celebrations take place around the Ozarks.