FLORENCE — The Spirit of Freedom Celebration is moving from one patriotic holiday to another this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The 39th annual celebration would traditionally be on July 4. However, this year it will take place on Veterans Day, Wednesday, November 11 at McFarland Park.
Officials with the city of Florence and event sponsor Singing River Media Group made the decision last week. According to Mayor Steve Holt, safety is of primary importance for the festival event that attracts thousands.
“It’s difficult to predict where we’ll be in terms of the pandemic in July. So, the event sponsors and I agree it’s best to err on the side of caution,” Holt said. “We opted to postpone the event instead of cancelling it.”
According to Mike Self, president and general manager of Singing River Media Group, a great deal of planning goes into the event, and this move is best for the safety of attendees.
“Planning for an event this size is difficult even in the best of times. Because of the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, the best option was to postpone the event. This gives us time to let the virus run its course and get a good understanding of what safety measures we may need to put into the event.
“Weather in the Shoals is generally great in October and early November. So, we’re looking forward to a successful celebration to honor America and veterans.”
The Spirit of Freedom was created in 1982 by WLAY and has become an annual Shoals tradition.