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With COVID-19 rising, another big fireworks show is canceled in Kansas City area

Kansas City Star logoKansas City Star 6 days ago By Sarah Ritter, The Kansas City Star

A couple of weeks after Overland Park announced its annual Fourth of July fireworks show would take place this summer, the city reversed course.

On Tuesday, officials said the Star Spangled Spectacular, which was scheduled as a fireworks-only celebration on July 4, will not take place. It’s the latest Independence Day celebration to be canceled amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as the metro area reports spikes in new cases.

“Guests were encouraged to remain distant at the park while viewing the show. However, a recent increase in coronavirus cases in Johnson County and the state of Kansas created an additional public health risk, prompting the (cancellation) of the show,” city officials said in a news release.

The annual event at Corporate Woods Founders’ Park typically draws crowds from across the metro and includes a festival and fireworks show.

As cases surge across the state, Gov. Laura Kelly said Monday she is ordering Kansans to wear face masks in public spaces beginning July 3.

Last week, Johnson County’s public health officer, Joseph LeMaster, issued a video message to the public saying, “We are in a dangerous place.”

From June 17 to June 23, the county reported a 24% increase in cases, said Sanmi Areola, public health director. Cases jumped from 1,105 to 1,369 in one week.

The previous week, Areola said the number of cases jumped 14%. The week before that, there was a 13% increase.

Tuesday afternoon, the county reported 1,692 coronavirus cases and 86 deaths.

As cases increase across the metro, a few cities are still planning July 4 celebrations.

Olathe, Gardner, Leavenworth, Oak Grove, Smithville and Weston are among cities that have pared back their celebrations to fireworks only. Leavenworth and Smithville have moved the launching locations of the fireworks so they can be visible from more areas.

In addition to Overland Park’s celebration, other major events that have been canceled are KC Riverfest at Berkley Riverfront Park, the Parkville Fourth of July Carnival, the Legacy Blast in Lee’s Summit, Parked! in Shawnee, Liberty Fest and the combined fireworks show of Roeland Park, Fairway and Westwood.

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©2020 The Kansas City Star (Kansas City, Mo.)

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