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Tue. Jun 18th, 2024

Groveport is changing the way it celebrates the Fourth of July

By meerna Jun12,2024

By Rick Palsgrove
Groveport Editor
Groveport’s Independence Day celebration will take place over two days this year: July 3 and 4.

On July 3, Wirt Road will feature live musical performances by Mama Drama at 5 p.m., Devin Henry at 6:30 p.m., and Crush Bon Jovi Experience at 8 p.m. There will be food trucks, family activities and a fireworks display at dusk accompanied by music on radio frequency 88.3.

The July 4 Children’s Parade will begin at 10:30 a.m. at Middle School Central, 751 Main St., proceed west on Main Street and south on Oak Street to Crooked Alley KidSpace, 630 Wirt Road. The Main Street Fourth of July Parade begins at 11 a.m. on Richardson Road and proceeds west along Main Street, then north on Hendron Road, ending at Glendening Elementary.

Problems last year
In past years, all Fourth of July events in the city took place on July 4, but last year there was a brawl during the Fourth of July fireworks display in Groveport.

According to Groveport police, “flash crowds” of young people, possibly consisting of teenagers and others in their 20s – some wearing ski masks – caused disruption and chaos at last year’s event by throwing fireworks and other explosive devices and then fleeing in all directions.

Groveport Police Chief Casey Adams said the purpose of such flash mobs is to cause “disruption and confusion.”

According to Adams, the worst incident occurred when people participating in the flash mob gathered in a city parking lot on Wirt Road and first threw a small firework on the ground, then a more powerful explosive device.

“They abandoned them and fled. The first fireworks made a ‘pop’ sound,’ Adams said. “The second one, which we believed to be an improvised home-made device, exploded with a loud bang that caused strong concussive blast vibrations. One of the officers later experienced ringing in his ears. The worst part is that these devices exploded near food vendors’ propane tanks.”

Fortunately, he said no injuries were reported.

“It was a sight we don’t want to see repeated in Groveport this year,” Mayor Lance Westcamp said.

Adams added: “I’ve never seen anything like what happened last year.”

Groveport City Administrator B.J. King said for safety reasons and to be consistent with other communities in the area, it was decided that the Groveport fireworks show would take place on July 3 this year instead of July 4.

Last year, only Groveport and Lancaster held fireworks displays on July 4, while most other local communities set them off on July 3. Due to this schedule, Groveport drew large crowds from local and surrounding towns to its fireworks display last year.

“Last year the problems were because we were the only team playing in town,” King said of last year’s fireworks, which took place on July 4, while most other cities set off fireworks on July 3. “The past year has been difficult for police and society. . We are doing everything we can to celebrate and keep everyone safe.”

Personal use of fireworks
Adams said police will be enforcing the city’s ban on personal use of fireworks this year.

Existing city law completely prohibits the use of personal fireworks at any time within the City of Groveport.

Groveport’s local law differs from current state law, which allows individuals to possess consumer-grade fireworks and discharge them on their own property or on another person’s property with a permit on the following days: New Year’s Day; Chinese New Year; Cinco de Mayo; Memorial Day Weekend; June; July 3, 4 and 5 and the Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays preceding and following them; Labor Day Weekend, Diwali; and Sylvester.

State law allows local governments to limit the dates and times during which individuals may discharge consumer fireworks, or to impose an outright ban on the use of consumer fireworks.

Adams said that for police officers to properly enforce the law, the discharge of fireworks must be done in the presence of police. If officers are able to determine who set off personal fireworks, they will release that person’s name. If not, they will issue a warning.

According to city officials, using fireworks on city property is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by six months in jail/a $1,000 fine.

“It’s a safety issue,” Adams said, adding that fireworks can injure people and start fires.

By meerna

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