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Independence Moving Forward with July 4 Parade, Fireworks

Independence Day will be celebrated with a parade and fireworks in Independence.

Though many other local communities have canceled summer parades, such as those in honor of Memorial Day and July 4, Independence decided only to cancel its annual Independence Day festival in Memorial Park.

This year's parade, schedule for July 4 at 11 a.m., will be longer to allow for more people to take part while practicing social-distancing, since the COVID-19 pandemic is still ongoing.

"This is probably the longest parade route we have ever had," said Independence City Administrator Chris Moriconi. "It's about two and a half miles. We made it longer to keep people safe. The people here have been showing a lot of common sense. The parks are open and everyone is doing what they're supposed to do, so we think people will space themselves out."

The parade route begins at Summit View Academy on Madison Pike and stretches to Simon Kenton High School.

The parade traditionally involves candy being thrown by those walking or riding in cars or on floats, and Moriconi said that would be allowed this year as long the candy pieces are individually wrapped.

Extra gloves and hand sanitizer must be present for parade participants, too.

Mayor Chris Reinersman said last week that he delayed a decision on the July 4 activities to see if any components of the annual tradition could be spared from cancellation. It was decided that the parade would go on at 11 a.m., instead of its usual 3 p.m. start-time, and then a fireworks display, produced by Vito's, would take place at 10 p.m.

Reinersman said that people are encouraged to watch the fireworks from their homes since there would be no ground displays.

"I mean, we are the City of Independence," Moriconi said. "We had real concerns about not having any of our regular celebrations when we were basically named after the day. In our heart of hearts, we knew we had to do something. No one liked canceling the festival, but we felt we had to do it. But we kept the parade."

Independence was likely named following the creation of Kenton County out of Campbell County in 1840, marking an "independence" from its eastern neighbors, according to the 1987 book, Kentucky Place Names. But regardless of the uncertain origin, the City of Independence has taken up the tradition of a major celebration each July 4 for the independence won by the United States of America. 

Typically, the parade features a grand marshal like restaurateur Buddy LaRosa and prolific restaurant franchise operator Gary Holland, but this year there won't be one.

Moriconi, however, expects that the parade may feature as many participants as usual.

Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor

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