GALION — Heise Park will be rocking Saturday during Galion’s Independence Day celebration. Scheduled activities include a car show, food trucks, sand volleyball tournament, a baseball game featuring 2020 graduates from the area who missed their senior baseball seasons and the traditional fireworks celebration.
It also will be the first big test in this area for the Galion area as Ohio’s slow return to normalcy continues.
Trish Factor, commissioner of the Galion City Health Department, urges residents to enjoy the festivities and time with family and friends, but to be mindful and to follow COVID-19 health restrictions and safety procedures.
“COVID-19 is still here and it isn’t going away any time soon,” she said. “In fact, Ohio is seeing a rise in cases. We need people to remain vigilant. We need people to remain diligent. Mask up. Keep your distance. As always, wash those hands.”
The pandemic has caused many counties and cities to cancel fireworks displays to deter large crowds.
Factor hopes those who come to the Galion celebration take seriously safety regulations and protocols.
“The basic principles are the same: keep your distance, wear a mask, continue frequent hand hygiene, stay home if you’re sick and avoid large gatherings,” she said. “Everything we do should be viewed through this lens. These simple rules will remain important in keeping ourselves, our families and our community as safe as possible.
“The virus hasn’t left. We’re finding that approximately 12 percent of people that are testing positive don’t have any symptoms and are going about life normally. If these people are maintaining social distancing and wearing masks — especially in public places or around others — the virus is less likely spread.”
The Galion Independence Day Car and Cycle show, hosted by the Pickle Run Festival, is Saturday, from 4-7 p.m. at Heise Park. Registration is 3-5 p.m. with the awards program at 6:30 p.m.
If enough teams enter the volleyball tournament, it will start about 4 p.m.
The baseball game, sponsored by the Galion Graders, will include graduated seniors from this area. It will start about 6:45 p.m.
Food trucks also will be open in the area.
Ohio Lt. Governor Husted said Monday that large gathering are still prohibited in Ohio and encouraged communities planning fireworks events to do so safely. He urged Ohioans to celebrate in small groups by watching displays from their porches, backyards or cars.
“We know that there will be many celebrations across Ohio,” Husted said. “The large gathering order is still in place. Large gatherings are highly discouraged and not allowed. But fireworks shows are not prohibited. They can proceed. What we are not encouraging are large gatherings.”
Factor knows Heise Park will be a busy place Saturday, and has some concerns.
“As guidelines continue to relax, our efforts to keep ourselves, our families and the community safe should not,” she said. As community members decide how they will celebrate, public health officials urge people to practice social distancing guidelines as well as wearing masks, proper hand hygiene, staying home if you are ill, and avoiding large gatherings is importance. Viewing fireworks displays from your own yard, from your car, and ensuring social distancing when in public areas is extremely important.”
She said the key to safety is to be mindful and considerate of others.
“If you’re not worried about yourself, worry about others,” she said. “Consider the people you come into contact with, loved ones, co-workers, neighbors, and others that could have detrimental outcomes from COVID-19.
“July Fourth will still be an exciting time. It just may look different. We empathize with community members wanting to feel normal again. Many have the itch to get back to work and school, to fully enjoy summer and times with friends. We can still enjoy these activities, but we must do it responsibly.”