Sumter's July 4 fireworks nixed; County cancels, Shaw AFB looking to reschedule


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Independence Day will be quieter this year.

Both Sumter County and Shaw Air Force Base canceled their annual July 4 celebrations and fireworks shows amid a continued and recently increasing spread of the coronavirus.

"Our fireworks this year are definitely canceled," Sumter County Communications Coordinator Joe Perry said.

The county's event is usually held at Dillon Park for friends and families to gather and socialize before a nighttime fireworks launch.

The event is considered a large gathering, Perry said, and such in-person events are still off limits according to state and federal public health guidelines.

Freedom Bash at Shaw Air Force Base is usually a family fun event for anyone with base access, and it was tapped to feature food, cornhole and a country music concert before a 20-minute display to commemorate the nation's independence.

"I was looking forward to it but it's the appropriate call given what's happening," said Col. Lawrence "Larry" Sullivan, who was recently installed as the 20th Fighter Wing's new commander amid the pandemic.

Sullivan said in a social media post from the base that the intention is to reschedule Freedom Bash for this fall.

The base has eased restrictions on access to facilities, he also announced. Shaw has not seen a large spread on base, and he said he wants everyone who regularly has base access to receive the services they were afforded before COVID-19 gripped the world.

Masks are required on base in facilities and when 6 feet of space cannot be maintained, and there are other restrictions that can be found at, but Sullivan said nothing is closed.

He said restrictions may be put back into place if the virus spreads on base or if health and safety rules cannot be maintained.