By Isaac Gleitz
INDIANAPOLIS—As many towns and cities have struggled to find ways to hold Independence Day celebrations because of the risks posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, some Indiana State Parks have taken up some of the slack.
From Pokagon State Park in the far northwest corner of Indiana to Patoka Lake in the south, Department of Natural Resources properties are hosting firework shows for surrounding residents, but a few events have been postponed or cancelled.
Versailles State Park’s fireworks show is now scheduled for July 11 at 9:30 p.m, and Monroe Lake will host its show on Sept. 6, the Sunday of Labor Day weekend. Finally, fireworks at Indiana Dunes State Park and Mississinewa Lake have been cancelled.
Madison’s Clifty Falls State Park usually hosts a firework show at the Clifty Inn, but it’s cancelled this year. The park will, however, offer a viewing place for the City of Madison’s fireworks, which will commence on July 4 at 10 p.m.
The 15th annual tradition “Thunder of Patoka” will still be happening at the Patoka Lake Beach near French Lick. This show is also set for 10 p.m. on Independence Day and is expected to draw a large crowd. Visitors should bring lawn chairs and blankets and expect dense traffic, according to a DNR public statement.
Pokagon State Park is hosting visitors for the annual display on Lake James presented by the Lake James Association. Fireworks will begin around 9:30 p.m, but the guest shuttle service will not be offered this year for social distancing purposes, so attendees should plan accordingly.
Raccoon State Recreation Area will be collecting free-will donations instead of an entrance fee at its firework show on Cecil M. Harden Lake. The show begins at 10 p.m. on July 4.
DNR staff want visitors to enjoy themselves, but they expect observance of social distancing and recommend wearing masks. Entry to each park costs $7 for in-state vehicles and $9 for out-of-state vehicles.
State parks will update the public on any changes caused by weather using their Facebook pages.
Isaac Gleitz is a reporter with TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.