The COVID pandemic has forced cancelation of Fourth of July fireworks in many places, but in Charlottesville a group of guys vowed the show would go on and be even better than before.
For decades, Charlottesville fireworks were provided by civic groups or individuals willing to bankroll pyrotechnics over McIntire Park, but this year the park is closed to prevent the spread of COVID. That upset Ray Caddell, a local musician and realtor.
“It just seemed to be like of all years, this is one where we really need this,” he says.
So he and some friends began talking about where they could safely launch fireworks without forcing people to congregate in a single spot. They settled on land owned by a local developer.
“We were literally standing outside, spit balling the whole thing and we saw the top of Carter’s Mountain, and we knew Wendell Wood was building a house up there," Caddell recalls. "Several of us knew Wendell Wood, and he said, ‘Sure!’”
Because it’s away from the city’s center and residential neighborhoods, he says this year’s fireworks can be bigger and louder than ever.
“It’s 1,800 feet, and the fireworks go another 800-1,000 feet in the air. I think you can probably see them all over town.”
With a Facebook page and a Go Fund Me account, Caddell’s group raised $27,000 and is hoping to bring in another $8,000 to pay the for fireworks, police and fire department assistance. Any extra cash will go to the Blue Ridge Food Bank.