GROVELAND – The City of Groveland didn't host a big Fourth of July celebration because of the coronavirus pandemic, but it did put on two dueling fireworks displays for residents to watch safely from their own homes.
Last month, Mayor Evelyn Wilson made the announcement in a letter and acknowledged the celebration would look different this year due to social distancing guidelines.
“In previous years, our tradition has been to gather for the best things the Fourth of July in Groveland has to offer: food, fun and fireworks,” Wilson wrote. “However, the current circumstances this year have prompted us to become innovative with how we celebrate.”
City officials said they couldn't celebrate the holiday like they normally do because the did not want a huge group of people coming together to watch the fireworks.
Instead, the city’s geographic information system division mapped out all 26 square miles of Groveland. They pinpointed two secret locations where they could set off the fireworks so everyone in the city can watch from their homes.
The city estimates more than 21,000 people will enjoy the dueling fireworks display safely from their front porch or backyard.
As the fireworks went up in Groveland, the same could not be said through much of Central Florida.
While News 6 couldn’t bring you all the action live from the Lake Eola fireworks show like in years past, News 6 put together a televised special called “Our City of Heroes: A July 4th Celebration,” that was a mosaic of all the best firework displays from Orlando and stories of local heroes getting results for the communities they call home.
David Bennett at Metro Expresso Pizza Cafe in downtown Orlando called this the slowest he’s seen Lake Eola in the 16 years he’s worked there on and off.
“This is usually a madhouse on the fourth of July,” he said. “This year it’s pretty dead. I was telling people it feels like a Tuesday afternoon after everything died at lunch. I’ve never seen it this bad and obviously the rain doesn’t help.”
Abbas Kermali saw the signs for no Fireworks at the Fountain, and the soaked scooters that outnumbered the people downtown. He still tried to set up his food truck, Oh My Gyro, just to see if he could grab any holiday business.
“Hopefully I didn’t drag this trailer out for no reason,” he said.