BARBOURVILLE — Barbourville City Mayor David Thompson has announced that the city will host its annual July 4th fireworks show this year along with a car, truck, and Jeep show hosted by both Knox Street Thunder and Dirty South Truck Show.

In an effort to prevent large crowds from gathering together that day, Thompson said Barbourville would be closing the city park and the streets that lead in and out of the park on July 4.

“We’re trying to prevent the possibility of any problems with the virus going on,” explained Thompson. “We’re trying to have something that the public can enjoy in the event of a pandemic. We’re trying to figure out a way we can do it safely, and still allow people to get out on a holiday.”

Thompson said that those interested in viewing the fireworks show are free to park in any of the multiple parking lots found throughout downtown, and are free to park along the side of Highway 25E.

“Anywhere they find to enjoy the fireworks from for the 20-25 minute show, will be fine for that period,” he said. “We are asking that all of the residents and non-residents that attend follow the social-distancing guidelines wherever you choose to watch the firework display from. We’re hoping that everybody will remember that the virus is still here, that’s the most important thing. But if you’re with your family anyway, you can still enjoy it. We’re just hoping that everybody remembers that part.”

The joint car, truck, and Jeep show will kick off at 5 p.m. on Barbourville’s Court Square and will last until approximately 10 p.m. The square will also be closed to thru traffic during that time.

Travis Smith with Dirty South Truck Show said his group was invited by Knox Street Thunder to host the event during the holiday. However, because Knox Street Thunder isn’t a competition, like Dirty South Truck Show, no trophies will be given out during this specific event. Smith did confirm that a flex ramp will be available at the show for those interested.

Smith also said that the event will feature a live DJ, and that CRAVE will be there to offer their shaved ice to event-goers. The car, truck, and Jeep show will also be giving out multiple $25 gift cards as door prizes to those who enter a vehicle into the show, which is free and open to everyone.

“If you take pride in your ride, bring it in and park it up,” said Smith. “Shine it up, come dirty, it doesn’t matter.”

To enter a vehicle into the show, simply show up before the show starts and speak with event staff stationed at the gate blocking traffic from entering the court square. There is no preregistration or signups required.

While Mayor Thompson admits that this year’s July 4 celebration in Barbourville will look different, he says he’s just happy the city is able to host such an event at all.

“In the past, we have an event with karaoke and a live band. Due to COVID-19, we have had to change this year, just like everything else. After the first of the year everybody’s life had changed,” said Thompson said, later adding, “At one point we were just going to cancel, but the community has been so good about following the guidelines, other than just a few things here and there.”

“Knox County has been real supportive of the guidelines that we’ve put in place, that the city put in place,” said the mayor. “And we have had very little problems within the community, even in our restaurants and our businesses. Everybody is pretty supportive because nobody wants to be the reason somebody else gets sick or your grandparents get sick. It’s a different 4th of July, but at least we’re getting out of the house and are able to do something on that day.”

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