ROCKFORD — The annual Fourth of July fireworks show will go on this year, but the typical daylong celebration will be scaled back.
The Rockford 4th of July Civic Committee, the local group that produces city’s annual Fourth of July celebration along with the winter holiday Festival of Lights show, made it official Monday.
Because of lingering uncertainties associated with the spread of the novel coronavirus, the committee plans to put on an evening fireworks show but has canceled the patriotic prayer breakfast, carnival, parade, live entertainment at Davis Park, food vendors and other festivities normally associated with Fourth of July in Rockford.
The fireworks show itself will be slightly shorter — 20 minutes compared with the usual 30 minutes — and the ground show has been cut.
These moves reduce the event’s budget to $35,000 instead of the usual $85,000.
The event will still be paid for by sponsors and donors and will require significant fundraising in the months to come.
According to the committee’s announcement, the decision to scale back this year was made, in part, for economic reasons and the fundraising challenges posed by the statewide stay-at-home order, which was implemented in March to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the potentially deadly disease caused by the coronavirus.
Ted O’Donnell, who chairs the event with his cousin Tom Luepkes, received a COVID-19 diagnosis in March. O’Donnell recovered under self-quarantine at home. He spoke out publicly after his diagnosis, urging people to stay at home and follow other recommendations to keep from spreading the virus locally.
"We are just people, like you, living through a pandemic," the committee posted Monday on its Facebook page. "2020 may be a dumpster fire of a year to start, but it's up to all of us as a community, as Americans, as humans, to look at this pandemic, learn from it and grow to be better."
Donations to the fireworks show can be made on the committee’s website, 4thandlights.com, or by mail to 728 N. Prospect St., Suite 107, Rockford, IL 61107.
The fireworks show will still be synchronized to music aired on local radio stations and aired on local television.
Corina Curry: email@example.com; @corinacurry