By Harley Nefe
Due to implications of COVID-19 and uncertainties regarding spreading the virus, issues surrounding proper social-distancing measures and precautions for large events, many Fourth of July celebrations throughout the High Country have been canceled. However, some still remain scheduled.
Town of Boone 2020 Fourth of July Celebrations
The Town of Boone announced on June 3, it canceled its 2020 Fourth of July Celebrations, including the parade downtown and the fireworks display at Clawson-Burnley Park.
“While we are disappointed to cancel this year’s traditional Independence Day celebrations, the safety of our citizens and visitors takes top priority,” Town of Boone Mayor Rennie Brantz said.
Blowing Rock Fourth of July Weekend
Blowing Rock also canceled its Fourth of July Festival and Parade due to COVID-19 concerns. There was to be a park dance on July 3 at 4 p.m. as well as games such as horseshoe throwing, watermelon eating and music and clogging from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. The small town Main Street parade was to be at 10 a.m.
Tweetsie Railroad Fireworks Extravaganza
Tweetsie Railroad is temporarily closed due to the pandemic and is waiting for restrictions to be lifted by local and state leaders. Therefore, Tweetsie Railroad will not be conducting its July 4 fireworks show this year. Typically, the park would have been open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., with the opportunity to enjoy fireworks under the stars at 9:30 after the park closed.
Beech Mountain Fourth of July Family Celebration
The Beech Mountain Fourth of July Family Celebration that was to be July 4 with the Sparkler 5K at 10 a.m. and the free yard games, bounce houses, face painting and food at the Beech Mountain Kite Field from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. was canceled.
Banner Elk Annual Fourth of July Parade
The small town parade that was to be at 11 a.m. followed by a “Party in the Park” at Tate Evans Park, which included food, games and the “Great American Duck Races” was canceled.
Events Still Scheduled
49th Annual Beech Mountain Roasting of the Hog Drive Thru
Beech Mountain Chamber of Commerce will still have its 49th annual Hog Roast To-Go, which will take place July 4 at the drive-thru of Fred’s Gazebo. Pork and turkey barbecue slow-cooked over hickory charcoal with fixins will be served from 5-8 p.m. Fireworks will be at dark.
Tickets for the Hog Roast To-Go can be purchased at Fred’s General Mercantile or online at www.beechmtnchamber.com. Tickets purchased in advance cost $17 for adults and $12 for children 10 years of age and under. Tickets bought at the door cost $20 for adults and $15 for children 10 years of age and under.
For clarity, Beech Mountain Resort is not a part of fireworks or the Hog Roast To-Go. The resort will be closed by 7 p.m. and will not be providing access to watch fireworks.
Newland Independence Day Festival
Newland will have an Independence Day celebration at the Riverwalk Bandstand on July 3. Live music will be at 6 p.m., and fireworks will be at 9:45 p.m. There will be food and vendors present, and social distancing will be enforced. The event has been approved by all county and town officials, including county health officials. In the case of heavy rain, the event may be canceled.
“The depression that has bound so many of us to our homes, and furthermore the notion of summer being ‘canceled,’ has become just as toxic as the virus itself,” The Town of Boone posted on its Facebook page promoting the event. “We hope this outdoor event will be an opportunity for you to enjoy time with friends and family, in celebration of the independence and freedom of our great nation.”
The band Tennessee Champagne will be performing at The Riverwalk at 6 p.m., and Morgans Mill will be performing at 8 p.m. The Town of Newland said for attendants to bring a lawn chair or quilt, and seat reserving can begin at 5:30 p.m.
Fireworks at Sugar Mountain
To kick off a day full of Fourth of July activities, Sugar Mountain Resort will host its fourth annual Summit Crawl that will begin at 9 a.m. on July 4. At this competitive event, participants can run, hike, climb or crawl to Sugar Mountain’s 5,300 foot peak by way of the Easy Street, Gunther’s Way and Northridge slopes. The distance of the Summit Crawl is approximately 6,500 feet or 1.2 miles. Participants will be timed, and prizes will be handed out.
Registration for the event can be completed online at http://shop.skisugar.com/event/ or by fax, phone or snail mail until 4 p.m. July 3 or in person until 8:30 a.m. July 4. The registration fee for adults is $40 and for children 12 years of age and under is $30. The entry fee includes a t-shirt and downhill transportation on the Summit Express lift. For more information visit the website https://www.skisugar.com/crawl/.
Sugar Mountain will also hold a firework show sponsored by the Sugar Mountain Tourism Development Authority. The firework show can be viewed from Sugar Mountain’s 5,300 foot peak and begins around 9 p.m. on July 4. The Summit Express Chairlift will run from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. for mountain-top fireworks viewing. No mountain bikes will be allowed after 6 p.m., and the band Typical Mountain Boys will perform at the base lodge from 6-9 p.m., with food and drinks available.