- July 8, 2020
4th of July Celebration to Be Held At Lycoming County Fairgrounds Founding Father and second American President, John Adams wrote that Independence Day should be celebrated with “pomp, parade, illumination, and fireworks,” and that tradition will continue locally when the 25th annual “Set the Night To Music” fireworks display and celebration will again be held,
4th of July Celebration to Be Held
At Lycoming County Fairgrounds
Founding Father and second American President, John Adams wrote that Independence Day should be celebrated with “pomp, parade, illumination, and fireworks,” and that tradition will continue locally when the 25th annual “Set the Night To Music” fireworks display and celebration will again be held, though in a location different than its usual location in downtown Williamsport.
This year has been an unusual and challenging year because of the COVID-19 virus, and this has made itself felt on the local July 4th celebrations. Because of the virus and state health concerns about large gatherings of people, the “Set the Night To Music” celebration was moved from downtown Williamsport. For a time, it was thought that the fireworks would be set off from the area near the former Susquehanna Supply Company, west of Maynard Street. Still, some uncertainty about whether the fireworks would affect a nest of bald eagles crept into the picture; fireworks organizers then scrambled to find a new location. They were able to land the Lycoming County Fairgrounds in Hughesville.
“We are grateful to Rocky Reed and the County Fair Association, the officials and police department of Hughesville borough and the Lycoming County Fire Police Association in their help in making the fireworks display possible,” Van Michael, general manager and president and CEO of Backyard Broadcasting, told Webb Weekly. “The relocation had to happen quickly and with short notice, and these officials were wonderful in helping to make that possible.”
Normally, “Set the Night to Music” is an event with numerous food vendors and various musical groups providing entertainment. That will not be the case this year.
This year it will be strictly a park-and-watch affair in which spectators will only be able to view the fireworks from their vehicle, and social distancing guidelines will be maintained.
As with other years, Backyard Broadcasting will be broadcasting a patriotic soundtrack over their member stations to accompany the fireworks and give it that proper “Yankee Doodle” flavor. The fireworks will begin at 9:40 p.m.
The parking lot locations are off Route 405 and Fifth Street from Route 118. There will be portable facilities available since the Fairgrounds themselves will be closed. No alcohol will be permitted on fairground property.
“Set the Night to Music” was first held in 1996, and Backyard Broadcasting served as a sparkplug for its origin and continued growth. It was a special passion for former Backyard general manager, Dan Farr. He and officials from the City of Williamsport and many others, including various veterans and service groups, have helped to make it the great event it has become.
“The important thing is we will be sending up fireworks to observe the occasion properly, and we hope a lot of people will still be able to enjoy these great fireworks,” Van Michael said. “I want the public to understand that no City tax dollars are spent to provide the public with this opportunity to have and view a large commercial fireworks display. This is 100 percent financed and made possible by Backyard Broadcasting and the community sponsors. Their contributions are what fund this display, these sponsors include UPMC Susquehanna and Health Plan, Woodlands Bank, DeWald Chiropractic, E.H. Kleckner Distributing, Pepsi Bottling Group, Van Campen Motors, and Surplus City. We will have a first-class aerial display put on by the Zambelli Fireworks Company, a company known for its excellent fireworks. So, come out and enjoy and mark the 244th anniversary of our great nation.”
Once again, though we may not be celebrating the 4th in the traditional manner, it won’t make this local display any less spectacular, so head to the Lycoming County Fairgrounds and enjoy the show.
If you prefer to stay home and celebrate, please be safe and take precaution with home fireworks!
The fireworks at the Fairgrounds won’t be the only fireworks in the area. In Montgomery, they will be setting off fireworks on Friday, July 3, beginning at dusk. In nearby Millville, they will have a fireworks display on Saturday, July 4, at the Millville Fire Company carnival grounds at 10 p.m.