By JONAH LOSSIAH
ONE FEATHER STAFF
Despite almost every event in Cherokee being cancelled due to the ongoing pandemic, the July 4 fireworks aren’t going anywhere.
Each year, Cherokee highlights its 4th of July Pow Wow with a fireworks display. However, the pow wow has been postponed and there are currently no plans for it to be rescheduled. Given this, there were some doubts about the explosions in the sky.
Jacob Reed, EBCI economic analyst who organizes the display, confirmed last week that the display is indeed set for Saturday, July 4 at 10 p.m.
“We checked with PHHS (EBCI Public Health and Human Services) on all the events to figure out what we needed to do as far as public safety and all that stuff. It was not recommended that we cancel the fireworks or anything, so we went ahead with it,” said Reed.
He said that after talking with PHHS and other departments, they will be operating with CDC and local guidelines for the event. He said that those involved the need to wear a mask, maintaining six feet of distance, and having attendees remain in their vehicles if possible.
The fireworks will be shot off from the Acquoni Expo Center on Acquoni Rd.
“Since the event is outdoors, people should be able to distance without any issue,” said Reed. “We also understand that sightlines may not allow people to remain in their vehicles.”
A large part of the pandemic impact in Cherokee has been the financial hit to the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. The Tribe is currently operating on a 50 percent revenue projection from the Harrah’s Cherokee Casinos, down from 80 percent last year. That means that many departments have had significant cuts to their budgets. However, Reed said that money for fireworks had already been set aside.
“The fireworks were not affected. I think that was all in process before cuts started coming down from Finance. So, going forward there’s probably going to be other things that are impacted, but it didn’t affect fireworks,” said Reed.
The cost for this display will be $16,000 dollars. Reed said that he finalized the contract with East Coast Pyrotechnics in mid-June. This is the same company that they use for fireworks each year.
Reed said that they are not planning for the event to draw in people from out of town, and that it is primarily being held for the community value.
“There’s just a general assumption that there will be fewer out-of-towners here. But, anything directly related to that, I don’t think anyone’s really discussed it. If they have, I’m not aware of it.”
Reed said that he’s hopeful that the fireworks can offer some joy to the local people of Cherokee. He discussed how difficult it has been for some folks during quarantine, and that this might offer a night a fun.
“Personally, trying to get things back to normal. You know, we do it every year and people always look forward to fireworks. It’s always a good event for our community and any community. I would think that maybe it’ll bring a little sense of normalcy back after the last three months.”