BW okays July 3 fireworks, awaiting Commerce approval

BLYTHEWOOD – Council voted Monday night to go forward with the July 3rd Fireworks in Doko Park.

Due to COVID restrictions, the popular event, which draws as many as 5,000 to the park every July 3, was not held last year. Because it was cancelled after it was scheduled, the Town was obligated per contract to pay $7,500, half the cost of the fireworks.

Steve Hasterok, Director of Conference and Events Center for Doko Manor and the park, said holding the event hinges on a number of things including whether the Department of Commerce would give the town a waiver to hold it. Gov. Henry McMaster has designated Commerce, not DHEC (Department of Health & Environmental Control), as the entity to determine which events in the state are allowed to go forward and which are not.

“The other question is, ‘Do we feel safe to do this? Would this turn out to be what they call a super spreader event?’” Hasterok asked council. “We can’t really control access to the park. We can’t control how many people will come in to the park for the event.”

Councilman Sloan Griffin suggested waiting unit the town finds out if Commerce approves the event before signing the fireworks contract.

“I mean, if the department [of Commerce] gives us the waiver, then we can sign the contract. It only takes 24-48 hours to find out if we can get it,” Sloan Griffin said. If they denied it, then we know we can’t do the event.

“The $7,500 is immaterial in the great scheme of things,” Councilman Donald Brock said. “Can we have a safe event?”

“I think we need to do everything in our power to have that event,” Councilman Eddie Baughman said. “If it’s within our power, I think we need to have it.”

Council voted 4-1 to have the event, with Brock voting against.

Mayor Bryan Franklin told The Voice following the meeting that the town would find out, before signing the fireworks contract, whether or not Commerce will grant the town a waiver for the event.

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