PORTAGE, WMTV – With the pandemic less of a concern this July 4 weekend, many celebrations like fireworks are returning to full capacity, but not all municipalities have reversed COVID-19 changes from from 2020.
The Town of Portage canceled its holiday festival last year and moved the location of its fireworks display; in 2021, they decided to keep this plan in place.
“We needed a place where people could space out more,” said Marianne Hanson, President and CEO of the Portage Area Chamber of Commerce.
For Portage local David Bible, watching the city’s fireworks with the family is an annual tradition.
“Have a nice barbecue with the girlfriend’s family and enjoy the great weather that we finally have,” said Bible.
The annual exhibit is a favorite for everyone in the family.
“The gold ones that sparkle or make an eerie sparkling noise,” Jayden Witte said when asked what her favorite type of firework was. Elizabeth Nicoly added: “I love pink and purple.”
In 2020, the city made major changes to its July 4th celebration, moving the location of its entire fireworks show from nearby Pawquette Park to a large lot on the north side of town. The move was due to the pandemic, but Hanson said the Chamber of Commerce had received positive feedback on the new location, so they decided to keep it for another year.
“A lot of parents have told us it’s great – due to the location they can put their kids in their cars, put them in their pajamas, put them in their cars, drive them here to watch the fireworks. , keep them in the car, then drive them home and they’re already ready to sleep for the night, ”explained Hanson.
The Bible says he also preferred this place. He explained with a laugh, “For me it was wonderful, less mosquitoes.”
The new location also provided more space for families, and Hanson said the city plans to make the change permanent.
“We have a lot of different viewing areas for people to park on the side streets and various parking lots of local businesses,” she said.
For Bible and his family, the location means they get a front row seat – one of their family members lives right in front of the field where the fireworks are now launched.
“This will be the second year to do the same,” Bible said of his family’s barbecue, adding, “Especially with the fireworks here across the street and a wonderful apartment right here in the neighborhood. “
Hanson explained that the chamber is working to make the fireworks show part of a larger series of events throughout July. Several Friday evenings throughout the month, there will be live concerts in a new pavilion at Pawquette Park.
“Gives you a better opportunity to attend a lot of events compared to just one big one,” explained Hanson.
For a full schedule of events, click here.
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