This year’s Athens Fourth of July fireworks show will reach the highest heights in its history.

The City of Athens and the Athens Parks Foundation, Inc. Board of Trustees announced on Sunday that the Independence Day fireworks show will be held on Saturday, July 4, at 9:30 p.m., with Athens Regional Park serving as its launching pad.

“Thanks to the hard work of the Foundation trustees, the city and our donors, I am so pleased to be able to announce we will have fireworks on July 4 in Athens and McMinn County,” said Athens Parks & Recreation Director Austin Fesmire.

“The Friendly City celebrates the anniversary of our nation’s independence each year with one of the grandest fireworks displays in all of Tennessee,” added Athens City Manger C. Seth Sumner. “I’m thankful to the Athens Parks Foundation, our donors and my staff for their perseverance to continue with our annual fireworks display.”

Arrangements have been made by the Foundation to shoot a high-altitude show designed to be seen from a large viewing area around the park. This will allow people to watch from an expanded area while practicing social distancing.

Due to the nature of this show and the fact that these high-altitude shells require an expanded safety area, the park will be closed to people and traffic all day on July 4, including during the fireworks show.

“Shooting this type of high-altitude show came with some logistical challenges we had to work through,” said Fesmire. “Obviously, getting a show higher requires quite a bit more lift and that is accomplished with larger shells. Larger shells come with an expanded safety zone inside of the park, which eliminated quite a bit of our parking and road use, which necessitates the park being closed. The result, however, will be 15 minutes of extreme pyro intensity that normally is reserved for much larger venues.”

Viewers are being asked to find a safe location in the vicinity of the park to watch the show.

The Athens fireworks will represent one of the largest local gatherings since the start of COVID-19 shutdown.

“As we continue to thrive through the COVID-19 pandemic, mourn the losses of our loved ones due to the virus, and wish to bring our people together in the spirit of America, while doing our part to physically stay apart, it is more important than ever to continue in traditions and grand celebrations,” said Sumner.

“Everyone working on this show wanted me to convey that their work was done to honor America and to provide a bit of normalcy to the area,” added Fesmire. “Over the years, we have learned that when the fireworks are in the air on July 4, everyone is united in a kindred spirit and we wanted to do everything we could to provide that feeling to our community in 2020.”

The City of Athens will provide additional details regarding the fireworks closer to July 4.

For more information, contact the Parks & Recreation Department by calling 423-744-2700, ext. 3.

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