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Friendly City Fourth cancelled, fireworks show postponed

Harrisonburg Downtown RenaissanceHarrisonburg Downtown Renaissance announced the cancellation of in-person activities at Turner Pavilion associated with the Friendly City Fourth festival and the postponement of its fireworks display, which had been scheduled for July 4.

“Bringing our community together during this time would foster the sense of togetherness and joy that we all need, but our primary concern is public health and safety,” says Andrea Dono, executive director, Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance. “We share the disappointment we know this announcement will bring but look forward to rescheduling the fireworks for a future community celebration when it is safer to do so.”

HDR staff sought direction from Gov. Ralph Northam’s Forward Virginia Plan, other municipalities that plan similar events, and guidance from public health and safety experts when considering how to handle planning a celebration that can attract several thousand attendees.

Over the past several weeks, many other municipalities cancelled or postponed their festivals and displays. Key public safety staff on the City of Harrisonburg’s COVID-19 response team advised on possible scenarios and their associated risks and limitations surrounding hosting an event and/or a fireworks display. HDR shared its research and the COVID-19 response team’s feedback on public health and safety concerns to City Council, which voted on May 26 to postpone the fireworks show.

Not all activities commonly associated with Friendly City Fourth have been cancelled. The Valley Fourth RUN, an annual community walk/run typically held the morning of the 4th, will still take place in an altered format.

The race will not be held on the streets of downtown; instead, walkers and runners from anywhere in the world can sign up to works towards the collective goal of traveling 6,136 miles in a virtual route across the USA by logging their miles completed between 8am of Friday, July 3rd – Sunday, July 5th.

Find more information and register for the Valley Fourth RUN Across America at

The Fort Harrison Chapter of Sons of the American Revolution will also read the Declaration of Independence on the east side of Court Square at noon on Saturday, July 4th.

This will be their 25th consecutive year reading the Declaration on Independence Day.

HDR will continue to monitor guidance from the Center for Disease Control, the Virginia Department of Health, and governor’s office and will work with the City of Harrisonburg to identify a safe alternate date for the fireworks display and an opportunity to come together as a community to celebrate safely later this year.

Follow Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance’s Facebook page for updates.

augusta free press
augusta free press