Where to see fireworks in the Chattanooga region this weekend

Fireworks from the 2018 Pops on the River Independence Day celebration at Coolidge Park light up the sky over the Tennessee River on Tuesday, July 3, 2018 in Chattanooga, Tenn. The Chattanooga Symphony & Opera played a collection of patriotic music during the free event.

If Independence Day cancellations have you singing the red, white and blues, dry your eyes.

You may have to drive a little farther to find a freedom celebration or fireworks display this year, but there are as many still happening as there are cancellations.

In some cases, the coronavirus pandemic has forced some events off the calendar, though fireworks are still planned in several locations around the region.

James Woods, Southeast regional sales director for fireworks and special-effects company Pyro Shows in Lafollette, Tennessee, says his company did 486 regional shows in nine days last year.

"This year, we're probably looking at 40-50% of that number of shows," he says.

Here's a look at what to expect around the tri-state. Pay attention to the dates; not all are on the Fourth. And some events are fireworks only.


* When: July 4

* Where: Athens Regional Park, 101 Regional Park Drive (closed to traffic)

Organizers of the Athens fireworks show, already one of the biggest in the area, are looking for more bang for the buck this year by putting extra funds toward bigger, higher-flying shells. The thinking is that people will be able to spread out and see them from a longer distance.

"What we're doing is making it a high-altitude show," says Austin Fesmire, director of the Parks and Recreation Department and president of the Athens Parks Foundation, which sponsors the display.

The bigger show will be slightly shorter, 15 minutes instead of 22, and the launch site, Athens Regional Park, will be closed to all traffic to accommodate the increased separation distance required for shells this size, some up to 10 inches.

"The biggest shell will have an elevation height of 700 feet and break higher than that," Fesmire says. "People shouldn't have any problem seeing them.

"This will be one of the largest shows we've ever put in the air."

There are no other activities, but that has been the case for several years "since most people are interested in the fireworks," says Fesmire.


* When: July 4

* Where: Lake Blue Ridge Marina, 335 Marina Drive, 8:30 p.m. CDT

Fireworks are scheduled at dark over Lake Blue Ridge at the dam on Old Highway 76.


* When: July 3

* Where: Border towns' downtown

The annual Light Up Copper Basin celebration is sponsored by the McCaysville Business Association and Fannin County Chamber of Commerce. Restaurants and shops will be open, and the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway's "Firework Special" will bring in passengers from the Blue Ridge, Georgia, station to watch the pyro show. City officials say anyone attending should continue to follow CDC guidelines for social distancing, hand washing and wearing face coverings.


* When: July 4

* Where: Heritage Point Regional Park, 1275 Cross Plains Trail

The Dalton Parks and Recreation Department will have the park's swimming pool open from noon to 5 p.m. and a concession stand open at Heritage Point East at 5 p.m. until the fireworks start at 9:30 p.m. There will be no other activities. Those attending are asked to gather in the upper ballfield and to practice social distancing.


* When: June 27

* Where: Ducktown City Park, 142 School House Hill St.

The city canceled Miners Homecoming, a festival combining Independence Day activities with events honoring the area's copper mining heritage. But fireworks are still scheduled at 9:30 p.m. in the city park. The town sits at the juncture of U.S. Highway 64 and state Highway 68. City Manager Sheryl Miller says the display will be visible to anyone arriving from either direction. "You can see it from anywhere in Ducktown," she says.


* When: July 4

* Where: Harris Park, 69 Church St.

The city of Dunlap's annual Fourth of July celebration kicks off with a parade at 9 a.m., traveling from Sequatchie County Middle School, 7079 state Highway 28, through downtown to First Baptist Church, 12 Church St.

Harris Park is adjacent. Music will start there around 10:30 a.m., with several local and regional bands performing. Country band Confederate Railroad ("Trashy Women," "Jesus and Mama") will headline at 7:30 p.m. (all times are Central).

Fireworks will follow at dusk.


* When: July 2

* Where: Fort Payne High School's Wildcat football stadium, 201 45th St. NE

Parks and Recreation Director Robin Brothers says fireworks are still a go, "but none of the other things we usually have, like the jumpies and bouncies, and the concerts and the food vendors, will happen."


* When: July 3

* Where: Hales Bar Marina & Resort, 1265 Hales Bar Road

Watch a fireworks display over Nickajack Lake at 9 p.m. CDT.


* When: July 4

* Where: Henagar City Park, 98 Barron Road

Fireworks will follow the 38th annual Sand Mountain Potato Festival, which includes a parade, food and craft vendors, games from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. CDT.


* When: July 4

* Where: Jasper City Park, Phillips Avenue

Fireworks at dark.


* When: July 3

* Where: LaFayette Municipal Park, 638 S. Main St.

Jan Shattuck, administrative assistant to the city manager, says the larger Freedom Celebration has been canceled, but "fireworks are on." The show starts at 10 p.m.


* When: July 4

* Where: Lakesite City Park, 9201 Rocky Point Road

Some of the city's Fourth of July events are for residents only, but outsiders can catch the fireworks at dark. Mayor David Howell cautions that this is a residential area with limited parking and space, and a fairly modest fireworks show, compared to larger cities.


* When: July 4

* Where: John A. Patten Recreation Center, 3202 Kellys Ferry Road

The Lookout Valley Neighborhood Association and Lookout Valley Lions Club will start their July 4th Celebration at 9 p.m., with comments and acknowledgments by local leaders and brief performances by local musicians, followed by fireworks at 9:30 p.m.

There will be no food or drink served this year, and organizers ask that those who attend to adhere to social-distancing guidelines.


* When: July 4

* Where: 3100 block of Main Street

The Pikeville Main Street Committee will start its "Star Spangled Celebration" at 4 p.m. with a farmers market and cruise-in for cars, trucks, motorcycles and tractors.

Nashville-based band Good Rockin' Tonight will play at 7 p.m. The foursome covers songs by Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, The Everly Brothers, Jerry Lee Lewis, Eddie Cochran and Roy Orbison, among others.

Fireworks will follow at 9 p.m., shot from the parking lot of Pikeville United Methodist Church (all times are Central).

In a YouTube post, organizers say they will be following social-distancing guidelines and ask that anyone who feels ill to stay home.


* When: June 27

* Where: Field of Dreams Sports Complex, 100 Rodeo Lane

Country band Little Texas ("God Blessed Texas," "What Might Have Been") will headline Freedom Fest, a family event starting at 1 p.m. CDT. The event includes children's activities, pony rides, inflatables, face painting, photo booth, rock climbing, a mechanical bull, arts, crafts and food vendors. Fireworks start at 9 p.m. CDT. Admission is free.


* When: July 4

* Where: Colonnade at Benton Place, 264 Catoosa Circle

The Catoosa County Board of Commissioners will inaugurate the Catoosa Fireworks & Fun Festival on the Fourth of July.

Commission Chairman Steven Henry says county leaders saw an opportunity to get on the festival map as other events fell off the calendar.

"Watching everything else cancel, I kept thinking it's been a bad enough 2020, with the COVID and the tornadoes. I just really wanted to try to bring some sense of normal back in community," he says.

They decided an outdoor event in a large, open space could help them adhere to the recommended health and safety guidelines.

"We're excited but nervous," he says. "We're doing something everybody else is running from."

The day will include a cruise-in, music, food and craft vendors, children's activities and a fireworks finale set to patriotic music by Pyro Shows. An indoor crafts sale will start at 1 p.m. All outdoor events will kick off at 4 p.m. Fireworks are scheduled at 9:30 p.m.

Local groups Lakeside (bluegrass), Past to Present (pop/rock), Stop 'n' Stare (country) and The Hullenders (gospel) will perform.

Admission and parking are free. Concessions and crafts will be for sale.

Henry cautions that plans are subject to change as officials monitor coronavirus guidelines from the governor's office.


* When: July 4

* Where: Harbor Lights Marina, 9718 Hixson Pike

With no city-sanctioned events at Soddy Lake, marina managers a few nautical miles away will offer a fireworks show at 9 p.m.


* When: July 4

* Where: Downtown (watch between Fourth and Fifth streets)

The city still plans a fireworks show at dark, but has canceled the usual related activities, such as inflatables and food vendors.


* When: July 4

* Where: Downtown district

The town of Sweetwater will start its celebration at 6 p.m. with music and vendors. Fireworks will follow at dusk.


* When: July 4

* Where: Jenkins Park on Price Street near the downtown square

The 1945 Dade County Fair committee will go forward with Fourth of July fireworks at 9:30 p.m. CDT, but the fair that usually precedes the pyrotechnics has been delayed for two weeks. Committee member Amanda Huckabee says there are still vendor openings for the family event, which will include bingo, a home-run derby, children's pageant and competitions in pie baking, MoonPie eating, watermelon eating, frozen T-shirt and hairy legs. The fair will start at 2 p.m. CDT July 18.


Wondering about other places? Here's the lowdown on celebrations held last year that will not be happening this year.


* Chattanooga: The Pops on the River concert with the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera at Coolidge Park has been canceled, along with the fireworks finale.

* Chattanooga: With no minor-league baseball season, there is no Chattanooga Lookouts game, therefore no fireworks finale.

* Collegedale: The Freedom Celebration at Veterans Memorial Park has been canceled, "out of an abundance of caution," according to city officials.

* Decatur: The fireworks show has been canceled. "We cannot ensure proper social distancing and the safety and health of our residents if we host an event and invite the public to attend," says a post on the city's Facebook page.

* Etowah: The Old-Fashioned Fourth of July Celebration at the L&N Depot has been canceled.

* Cowan: There will be no fireworks display this year as sponsors work through "a long readjustment due to the COVID-19 pandemic," according to the Cowan Commercial Club.

* Graysville: The city's Fourth of July celebration at Kristopher's Kingdom has been canceled.

* Hixson: The Barn is closed due to the coronavirus and has no monthly gospel singings or special events planned this summer.

* Hixson: Middle Valley Fireworks and the Knights of Columbus have canceled the annual Independence Day fireworks show at Camp Columbus. As this would have been a milestone 10th year for their collaboration, the groups are "kicking around the idea of rescheduling the show for sometime in September or October," according to a Facebook post.

* Sewanee: The 4th of July Celebration has been canceled.

* Signal Mountain: The Signal Mountain Lions Club will be set up at Althaus Park to fulfill barbecue orders made in advance. The neighborhood parade that normally starts the day and the fireworks show that ends it have been canceled.

* Soddy-Daisy: The city's events at Soddy Lake, organized by Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 942, have been canceled.

* Spring City, Tennessee: The city's Shake the Lake festival at Veterans Park has been canceled.


* Calhoun: The Star-Spangled Celebration at the Northwest Georgia Regional Fairgrounds has been canceled.

* Fort Oglethorpe: Patriotism at the Post, held on Barnhardt Circle at the 6th Cavalry Museum, has been canceled.

* Rossville: Fireworks at Lake Winnepesaukah Amusement Park have been postponed indefinitely.

* Summerville: The city has canceled the Celebrate Independence Fireworks Show and Festivities.

photo Staff File Photo by Robin Rudd/ Red, white and blue cover a float in last year's Fourth of July parade in Dunlap, Tenn. Although some communities are canceling their Independence Day celebrations because of the coronavirus, Dunlap's parade, music and fireworks will continue as scheduled Saturday.