Killeen-area residents were left with only two options to watch fireworks Saturday after Temple canceled its fireworks show Thursday.
The options were the annual show from Fort Hood and the annual show in Gatesville.
People still packed into the parking lots at Central Texas College to get a glimpse of the traditional Independence Day pyrotechnics, although one couple who has been watching the fireworks for more than 20 years said it was noticeably different.
Johnny Sauceda and his wife Irene Sauceda said the parking lot is usually more full.
“It would be packed by now,” Johnny Sauceda said as he and his wife waited around 7:45 p.m. “I thought we were going to be packed ... (the crowd is) so, very, very (sparse) this year.”
The Saucedas said they speculated the reason for the smaller crowd to be the coronavirus. It didn’t dampen their plans, however, since they were still watching the fireworks with their grandchildren, which is a tradition.
“The only thing different is that our grown kids aren’t with us,” Irene Sauceda said.
Harker Heights resident Kimberly Parr said she has also watched the Fort Hood fireworks for more than 20 years, and she said the coronavirus has had an effect on her normal plans.
“It’s kind of put a damper,” she said. “I mean, parades were canceled. You know, all the traditional things that families get together to do, have been kind of put on hold, but at least we’re able to come out here and celebrate the fireworks.”
Parr, who was watching the fireworks with her husband, John Williams, said she normally goes to the Belton parade, which was canceled and turned into a virtual parade of video submissions from residents, businesses and organizations.
Jefferson Weathersbee, who was celebrating the fireworks with friends from three other families, said he wasn’t going to let the coronavirus ruin his spirits.
“It’s just a good day to celebrate America, no matter what’s going on in the world,” he said.