Prestonsburg to close carnival with Independence Day finale

Published: Jul. 2, 2020 at 5:01 PM EDT
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PRESTONSBURG, Ky. (WYMT) - Update July 4, 2020

As Prestonsburg’s carnival enters its last day, Mayor Les Stapleton said it saw fewer visitors than in years past. 

“I’m sure it’s because of COVID. And if people don’t feel comfortable coming, we don’t want them to come. We don’t want them to be uncomfortable,” Stapleton said. 

But, even with all of the COVID-19 precautions in place, families and young people came out to celebrate Independence Day at Archer Park. 

“I’m out here because I wanna hang out with my friends. It’s been a while since I’ve been out,” said carnival-goer Paige Maynard. “I’m just gonna come down here and watch the fireworks tonight.”

One man, Junior Risner, brought his family to enjoy some quality time in the sun as they waited to take in some fireworks Saturday night.

“Were just out enjoying this Fourth of July. We don’t never know what’s going to happen,” said Risner. “And bringing the babies out to ride these rides and we’re just so happy to be here.”

Stapleton said he expects more people to turn out as the sun goes down, in anticipation of the biggest show the city has seen in a while.

Original Story July 2, 2020

The city of Prestonsburg is moving forward with its Independence Day celebrations.

The annual fireworks show will take place Saturday night. Mayor Les Stapleton says it is the biggest show the city has had in years and planning has been ongoing since last October. He says the show could last anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes.

“Bigger, better booms. Lights. The whole nine yards,” Stapleton said. “We actually ordered this show last October and a lot of the show is made specifically for us.”

But before the sky lights up, attendees will get the chance to enjoy the carnival festivities at Archer Park. The carnival is traveled from Virginia and according to Stapleton, this event will be its first this year.

“And we’ve limited the amount of rides so that we could create space in between each ride. So that you’re not laying on top of each other all the time,” said Stapleton.

Stapleton says the carnival workers will be practicing extra measures to keep equipment sanitized between uses and attractions will be spaced out to allow for social distancing.

”We want to get ahead of it. We want to try to eliminate any opportunity there is for anything to be passed on,” he said.

Hand sanitizer and handwashing stations are placed throughout the park and guests will have their temperatures checked at the entrance gate.

“July 4th’s big for me. As a person; as an individual. It’s also big for the City of Prestonsburg. Independence Day, we really take it serious,” said Stapleton. “Regardless of what line you’re on, it’s when the United States got their independence. and we need to celebrate it.”

Stapleton says the city is excited to offer its people a chance to celebrate Independence Day but urges community members to be responsible. With 31 positive cases in the county, five of which are currently active, Stapleton says he is not interested in increasing that number.

He says anyone who is at high risk for contracting COVID-19 should not attend the carnival and should plan to enjoy the fireworks from a safe distance.

The carnival opens Thursday and Friday at 5 p.m. and will open at 11 a.m. Saturday. Fireworks are set to go off at around 9:30 p.m. Saturday.

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