Fireworks file photo

This file photo shows area fireworks exploding in the night sky. 

PRINCETON — An outdoor event celebrating the Fourth of July with fireworks, bands and more is making a comeback this year after being canceled as a pandemic precaution in 2020.

Stacey Hicks, president and CEO of the Princeton Rescue Squad, went before the Mercer County Commission earlier this week seeking funds for the Mercer Count July 4th Celebration. Hicks said that the squad appreciated the commission’s earlier support for finishing the new Karen Preservati Center, the site where about 35,000 COVID-19 vaccinations have been administered.

“The monies you gave that project have truly helped the community,” Hicks said.

The rescue squad requested funding to help this year’s Fourth of July celebration at Hunnicutt Stadium. Last year, the outdoor event was canceled due to COVID-19 precautions. There were fireworks, but the celebration’s live music and other events could not take place, he told the commissioners.

“This year with the governor lifting the mask mandate and with vaccinations, we feel safe to have an event outside,” Hicks said, adding that more than 10,000 people have passed through previous celebrations.

The 2021 Fourth of July celebration will feature five to six bands, activities for children such as pottery, water slides and balloons, he said. It will be the celebration’s 10th year.

Hicks said that the rescue squad had been fundraising for the celebration, but the response has been “disappointing.”

“It’s been tough for businesses the last 16 months,” Hicks stated.

Commissioner Bill Archer asked Hicks if this year’s Fourth of July event will be the same as previous celebrations.

“It will basically be the same thing we did all the years past,” Hicks replied. “This is a good year to celebrate life. Basically, we’ve been prisoners for 16 months.”

Veterans have been recognized at previous celebrations and they will be honored again this year, but medical professionals, EMT workers, police and other first responders that have worked during the pandemic will be recognized as well, Hicks said. At the Princeton Rescue Squad, squad members have transported patients who “were near death.”

Commissioner Greg Puckett moved to provide the squad with $3,000. The motion passed unanimously.

People who want to contribute to this year’s festivities can send donations to the Princeton Rescue Squad, Independence Day Celebration, 701 Stafford Drive, Princeton WV 24740.

— Contact Greg Jordan at gjordan@bdtonline.com

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