Chris Stone is a drummer and vocalist for Departure, a Journey tribute band.

Fireworks displays are planned for this weekend in a couple of local cities, but traditional Fourth of July events elsewhere have been postponed or canceled in response to safety concerns around the coronavirus pandemic.

Officials in Covington, Oxford and Porterdale decided to postpone or cancel popular holiday events because of their concerns about transmission of the disease among expected crowds.

Loganville will have its annual Independence Celebration starting at 6 p.m. Saturday at West Walton Park. A concert featuring Departure begins at 7:30, and the fireworks show starts at dark.

Parking is at the Meridian Community Center.

On Saturday, one event in Social Circle will allow people to attend, but a popular annual fundraiser in Porterdale will only be accessible on Facebook.

The city of Social Circle is set to host a fireworks display at 9:30 p.m. at Stephens Park.

Attendees are encouraged to bring blankets, chairs and their own picnic dinners and can begin filing in to the event site at 7:30 p.m. However, no food vendors or live entertainment are planned and social distancing will be encouraged, according to city downtown director Amber McKibben.

Those who do not want to travel to Stephens Park can watch the show from South Walton Park parking lots, downtown Social Circle, Freshway Market and behind the Blue Willow Inn, according to information on the city Facebook page.

For more information, visit the city’s Facebook page,

Another tradition, the Boys & Girls Clubs of North Central Georgia’s annual Duck Derby, is scheduled to be done without an audience lining the banks of the Yellow River in Porterdale.

The fundraiser for the Boys & Girls Clubs is set for 9 a.m. Saturday and can be seen live at

It will feature 6,000 rubber ducks — “adopted” by donors — which are released on the Yellow River. The winning entry will receive a $10,000 grand prize.

The Porterdale city government chose not to plan a fireworks show for this year.

In a statement, Mayor Arline Chapman and interim City Manager Robert Witcher said, “Due to the public health and safety recommendations issued by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) concerning COVID-19, the city of Porterdale will not be hosting an Independence fireworks display in 2020.

“Since March 26, when the city issued a Shelter in Place Ordinance and Resolution, and following all special orders issued from the governor’s office, the safety and health of residents and visitors has been of utmost concern for the city.

“With the recent up rise in cases, it is important to insure that every opportunity is taken to prevent the transmission of COVID-19. We wish our citizens a safe and happy Fourth of July and to celebrate freedom and peace this Independence Day.”

Officials in Oxford also canceled an annual tradition because of concerns about the safety of attendees attending a live event during the ongoing pandemic.

The city of Oxford and the Oxford Lions Club in past years hosted a morning parade on July 4 followed by an event featuring food vendors and live entertainment at the historic Old Church on Wesley Street.

However, the city council “out of an abundance of caution” opted to cancel the annual event, City Manager Matthew Pepper said

The Covington City Council voted in May to reschedule the annual Stars and Stripes Fest and its popular fireworks show to Labor Day weekend.

The council voted to postpone the event to Sept. 6 amid concerns about the safety of the event during the pandemic because of the large crowds that typically gather to watch it.

The Stars and Stripes Fest typically includes food vendors, live music and a large-scale fireworks show that attracts crowds estimated at up to 50,000 to the area around the Covington Square on July 4.

Council members reportedly decided to reschedule the event to Sept. 6 because it would lessen the impact on some businesses that close on Sundays.

David Clemons, the editor and publisher of The Walton Tribune, contributed to this report.


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