The Norman Parks and Recreation Department hosted a Labor Day fireworks display Saturday, with the purpose of celebrating essential workers over the holiday weekend.

The event at Reaves Park, 2501 Jenkins Ave., was scheduled as a replacement for the Fourth of July fireworks show that was canceled due to COVID-19 orders that were active at that time.

According to a release from the City of Norman, the fireworks show was done in honor of essential workers who served the community during the early months of the pandemic.

While the pandemic is ongoing, the Parks and Recreation Department facilitated a socially distanced event with demarcated spots for families to remain safely spread out. Families and friends alike gathered at picnic tables around the area.

The event kicked off with a Greatest Hits of Summer Breeze 2020 series, a virtual show put on by The Depot. Kyle Reid and The Low Swinging Chariots followed up with a live virtual set list broadcasted on KGOU. The fireworks show was the final event of the evening.

David and Joyce Praigie came to hang out and enjoy the music and the fireworks.

David Praigie said they usually watch fireworks in Midwest City, where they live, but they decided to travel to Norman because they heard the Reaves Park show was happening this weekend.

Erann Burns and Rachel Selvidge have gone to Reaves Park for the last 16 years to watch fireworks.

Burns, a housekeeper at a metro area hospital, said this is an opportunity to show appreciation for essential workers and the military.

“It's a great time to get together and show that COVID-19 isn’t going to affect everyone from having a good time,” Burns said. “[We’re] just looking forward to everyone having fun, and we will get through [COVID-19] and come out stronger.”

“We just want everything to get back to normal,” Selvidge said.

Bobby Green drove from McCloud with his family to enjoy the evening, particularly the fireworks.

He said while he helped with a Fourth of July fireworks display at the Kickapoo Casino in Harrah, where he works, this was a chance for him to enjoy a display as a family.

“We are just hanging out with the family and figured we would let the kids play here for a little bit before it gets dark and then check out the fireworks,” Green said.

Ryan Thomas said it’s unfortunate there couldn’t be a Fourth of July celebration like other years, but he and his family appreciate the city for putting on this event, even during a pandemic.

“It’s great to get out as a community together again, no matter what political party you are in, for at least one night, hopefully,” Thomas said. “For just a little bit, we can go back to just being one community again and have fun.”

Jeff Elkins

517-1933

Follow me @JeffElkins12

Jelkins@normantranscript.com

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