BRANFORD — After months of change, the Branford River Reunion is hoping to help return things to normal.
Well, sort of.
The annual Independence Day celebration will be held Saturday at Hatch Park in Branford. Following the parade down Suwannee Avenue at 6 p.m., the festivities will begin at the park at 6:30 p.m. and last until dark. Fireworks will cap off the day at approximately 9:30 p.m.
“So far things are doing OK,” said Peggy Terry, one of the River Reunion’s organizers. “You just never know (with the COVID-19 coronavirus).”
Among the festivities at the park will be craft, food and information booths. Terry said as of Friday, there were 20 booths ready for the event. She said the booths will be more spread out around the park in order to help encourage social distancing.
Games and live entertainment will also be featured, including Branford Highway and Booie Beach. The Bedrock Derby race is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Prior to the evening festivities at Hatch Park, the Rotary Club of Branford will hold its annual Duck Race at 2 p.m. at Ivey Park.
“We need something to do,” Terry said about holding the event. “We need something different to kind of get us outside and things can go back to halfway normal.”
Live Oak hosting drive-in Festival
The Freedom Festival in Live Oak will also take place Saturday but in a completely different fashion.
Rather than a traditional festival with booths and entertainment, the Live Oak Community Redevelopment Agency, the Live Oak Police Department and Suwannee Parks & Recreation have planned for a drive-in festival that will honor Korean Conflict veterans as well as front-line healthcare workers that have been battling through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fireworks will be the highlight of the celebration, scheduled for approximately 9:30 p.m.
The city has designated three parking areas for families to gather and enjoy the fireworks display: parking lot at Paul Langford Stadium, at the Suwannee Historical Museum and the parking lot across from the county government offices in downtown Live Oak.
Tailgating is encouraged as long as appropriate social distancing is maintained.
In addition to the fireworks, 97.1-FM will be broadcasting a patriotic radio broadcast that will include the veterans and healthcare workers’ stories of their experiences.
Those stories have also been filmed and a movie will premiere on July 4 on social media, streamed live on the Live Oak CRA Facebook page at 7 p.m. Do Good Media co-produced the broadcasts and film with the CRA.
“Although these are challenging times, we certainly did not want to cancel our Freedom Festival,” City Manager Ron Williams said in a release. “We believe we have come up with a plan that allows for a safe and respectful celebration of our nation and our heroes.”