Fourth of July celebrations will look a little different this year, as some are going virtual or opting for more social-distance-friendly alternatives to large crowd gatherings while viewing fireworks. View the listing for information on the holiday’s events, as well as local municipal closures. For those doing their own fireworks, they are not allowed within city limits in Killeen and other Central Texas cities.
The Fort Hood Independence Day Fireworks will take place over Hood Stadium from 9:30 to 10 p.m. July 4. Those planning to watch live can do so from their vehicles in designated on-post parking areas that will open at 7 p.m. and viewers can tune into 101.7 FM for patriotic music and programming during the show. Those wishing to stay at home can instead watch a live television broadcast of the fireworks at 9:30 p.m. on the KXXV 25 and KWTX 10 channels. Visit hood.armymwr.com for more information.
The City of Temple is hosting the H-E-B All-American Fourth of July Drive-In Fireworks Show at 9:30 p.m. July 4 at Crossroads Park, 1020 Research Parkway, Temple. There will be six designated parking areas for visitors to watch the show from their vehicles. Parking will open at 7 p.m. and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Spectators can tune in to 105.5 FM for music accompanying the fireworks. Guests will be required to maintain social distancing and stay within, or directly next to, their vehicle at all times.
The Belton Fourth of July Virtual Parade will be from 10 a.m. to noon July 4 and live-streamed on the event’s Facebook page, https://bit.ly/2B53Vbj. The event will include residents’ videos that had been submitted by June 26.
The Belton Chamber of Commerce is hosting a free Fourth of July Backyard Party with live music by Sprung and followed by fireworks from 6 to 9:30 p.m. July 4 at Schoepf’s BBQ, 702 E. Central Ave., Belton. There will also be a Friday Night Backyard Party with a free concert featuring Carson Jeffrey at 7 p.m. and Kevin Fowler at 8:30 p.m. at Schoepf’s BBQ July 3.
The Belton Area Chamber of Commerce also has other events, such as the annual PRCA rodeo, starting July 2-4 at the Bell County Expo Center.
The City of Gatesville will host its annual fireworks show at dusk July 4 near the Gatesville High School, 205 S. Lovers Lane. Due to construction, spectators will not be able to enter the football stadium and view the fireworks as in previous years. Parking in lots and safe areas in the vicinity will be allowed, and social distancing should be observed.
Under a new executive order from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who said the state faces a “massive” outbreak of the virus, Bell County Judge David Blackburn and mayors have expanded authority over gatherings of 100 or more people.
Additionally, Blackburn issued an order on businesses to require customers and staff to wear a mask while on their premises as a way to curb the number of local infections. The order goes into effect on Monday and will be active on Independence Day and includes indoor holiday events.
Blackburn said he has been in several discussions with area organizers and reviewed their plans. The plans, he said, should accomplish the county’s goal: Mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
“At least all of the plans I have reviewed in regard to the Fourth of July events and activities in the area have been very cognizant of the COVID-19 situation and have made I think extraordinary efforts to try to mitigate the social contacting that might occur during those events,” he said.
Blackburn highlighted Temple’s celebration.
“What we talked about is minimizing interactions, social contact and maintaining social distancing to the extent that you can,” he said. “I think, for example, the Temple Fourth of July fireworks celebration, at least the plan that I reviewed on that, had implemented all of the measures we’re talking about in this directive in terms of trying to maintain that social distancing.”
The city of Georgetown considered a drive-in fireworks show, but ultimately decided to cancel it because officials thought it would be too risky, Community Impact reported.
“The city of Temple is moving forward with plans for its Fourth of July Drive-in Fireworks Show,” Temple spokesman Cody Weems said. “The city has taken several precautions to ensure this event will meet regulations for health and safety as set by local and state officials.”
As for Belton’s events, Belton Area Chamber of Commerce President Randy Pittenger said they will follow all orders from local and state officials during their celebrations.
“We’re confident that the (Bell County Expo Center) will be providing a safe and welcome environment for our rodeo that runs July 2 through 4. That was one of the specific things that was specifically described in the governor’s guidelines,” Pittenger said. “There will be a 50 percent capacity. All seats are reserved instead of general admission, so we’re confident that they’ve taken the measures to make that a safe and comfortable environment for families that come, and we expect a great show.”
City offices will be closed July 3 in observance of Independence Day and will resume normal business hours July 6. Residential waste collection will not be affected by the holiday and pick up will continue as normal.
Emergency services will operate without interruption and garbage collection will run on its normal schedule.
Solid Waste administrative offices will be closed July 3. Killeen Recycling Center will be closed July 3, but recycling trailers will be available at the downtown center at 111 East Avenue F and at 6520 Clear Creek Road and 3201 South W.S. Young Drive. Killeen Transfer Station will be open July 3 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and closed July 4.
Long Branch Pool will be open July 3 through 5 for regular hours, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The Family Recreation Center at Lions Club Park will be open July 3 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and closed July 4 and 5.
Killeen Animal Shelter will be open July 3 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., closed July 4 and open July 5 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Harker Heights City Hall will be closed July 3 and will resume normal business hours July 6. Trash pick-up services will not be affected by the holiday and will run as scheduled.
All City of Copperas Cove facilities, including the Solid Waste Transfer Station, will be closed July 3 in observance of the holiday and will resume normal hours July 6. Residential trash collection will run on its normal schedule the week leading up to the holiday, but will not occur July 3. Commercial trash will be collected on its regularly scheduled day.
Fort Hood will observe Independence Day July 3 and most soldiers will also enjoy a training holiday July 6.
City Hall and all city offices will be closed July 3 in observance of the holiday and will reopen as normal July 6.
City offices and the Lampasas Public Library will be closed July 3 in honor of Independence Day and will open again July 6. Trash pick-up will be the next business day following the holiday.
City offices will be closed July 3 and will reopen July 6. Residents should check with their respective waste collection provider to find out if the collection schedule will be affected.
FME News Service staff writer Joel Valley contributed to this report.