Germantown cancels fireworks, one Shelby municipality chooses not to scrap event

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The City of Germantown continues to prioritize public health and safety in the wake of the global Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Over the course of the last two months, many difficult decisions have been made. It is due to these unfortunate circumstances that the City of Germantown regrets to announce that the Fourth of July Fireworks Extravaganza will not go on as planned this year and will be postponed until 2021.
“Each year, our fireworks show draws tens of thousands of people to Municipal Park, and it’s certainly a treasured community event. Ultimately, the community’s safety is our number one priority, and we must adhere to state and local health directives which say large public events are not allowed and aren’t likely to be allowed for some time,” said Germantown Parks and Recreation Director Pam Beasley. “We look forward to the return of this celebratory event in 2021.”
With the annual fireworks display drawing such large crowds, acceptable social distancing measures would be difficult, if not impossible to maintain between those in attendance. In addition, the City continues to be mindful of the budget impacts associated with COVID-19.
“While this is an annual event we look forward to every summer, we must continue to keep public health at the forefront,” said Germantown Mayor Mike Palazzolo. “We can still celebrate our nation’s independence and will continue to look forward to a day when it is safe for us to gather as a community again.
“It deeply saddens us that some of the community’s staple summer events, such as the Germantown Charity Horse Show and the fireworks display, have to be postponed to the following year; however, it is absolutely necessary to protect the health of our residents and continue to reduce the spread of COVID-19 within the community.
In the meantime, the Germantown Parks and Recreation department is actively working to identify opportunities for events that can take place virtually or smaller scale events that would allow the requirements for social distancing to be met.”
Because of concerns over spreading COVID-19, Memphis and most of its suburbs are having dark skies this Fourth of July, with one exception: Millington will have fireworks with appropriate social distancing for attendees. The city’s traditional Flag City Freedom Celebration will be tonight, July 2, at USA stadium (4351 Babe Howard Blvd.).
The gate opens at 6 p.m. and fireworks will begin at sundown in Millington. Music will be by Sherry Oke.
The usual public fireworks shows have been cancelled this year in Arlington, Bartlett, Collierville, Germantown and Memphis. A group of neighbors in Lakeland will have their annual private fireworks celebration at Garner Lake. Collierville has postponed its fireworks show until Sept. 5, when it will also mark the city’s 150th anniversary.
MemphisTravel.com has a list of alternative July 4 weekend celebrations, including kayak rentals, a paddleboard tour, bike tours, picnics and more. See details at https://www.memphistravel.com/article/all-american-memphis-guide-fourth-july-weekend.
Personal fireworks
For safety reasons and/or noise control, most Shelby County locales discourage or outlaw the use of personal fireworks.
Bartlett: Fireworks are allowed if no one complains about the noise. If there are complaints, the police will respond and can shut down the use of fireworks. People aren’t permitted to make unreasonably loud, disturbing and unnecessary noise at any time, but particularly between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. See ordinances 11-102 and 11-103 in the “Municipal Offenses” section of the city code for details. (Link: https://bit.ly/Bartlett-Noise-Ordinances)
Arlington:
The town allows citizens to use fireworks during two periods annually: 10 a.m.-10:30 p.m. July 4 and 8 p.m. Dec. 31 through 1 a.m. Jan. 1. (Fireworks: https://bit.ly/Arlington-Fireworks. Noise: Sections 11-401 and 11-402 at https://bit.ly/Arlington-Noise.)
Collierville:
It’s illegal to fire or light any fireworks on Collierville streets or lots. (Fireworks: https://bit.ly/Cville-fireworks. Noise ordinance: https://bit.ly/Cville-noise-ordinance.)
Germantown:
The average citizen can’t possess, make, store, sell, handle or use fireworks in the city. (Fireworks: See Section 10-17 at https://bit.ly/Gtown-fireworks. Noise: Section 12-65 (19) at https://bit.ly/Gtown-Noise.)
Lakeland:
It’s illegal to use fireworks in the city limits unless a special permit is obtained. (Fireworks: See sections 7-204 and 7-205 at https://bit.ly/Lakeland-Fireworks. Noise: See sections 11-301 through 11-304 at https://bit.ly/Lakeland-Noise.)
Memphis:
Follows the Shelby County guidelines of no personal fireworks allowed, but public displays are allowed with a permit.
Millington:
Millington doesn’t permit the use of fireworks within the city limits unless it’s for a public display managed by city employees or unless a person, firm or corporation has obtained a permit from the state. (Fireworks: See Section 7-304 at https://bit.ly/Millington-Fireworks. Noise: Sections 11-301 and 11-302 at https://bit.ly/Millington-Noise.)
Shelby County:
Sales or use of fireworks is prohibited except as authorized by state law. This doesn’t restrict or prohibit public displays of fireworks when the state fire marshal has issued a permit. (Shelby County fireworks: See sections 22-36 and 22-37 at https://bit.ly/Shelby-County-Fireworks. Shelby County noise: Article 3, especially Section 16-61 at https://bit.ly/Shelby-County-Noise.)

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