The Eclipse Independence Day parade always features a grand display of red, white and blue on floats, bicycles, wagons and other means of transportation. Other celebrations in Eclipse include the raft race at 3 p.m. and the fireworks at 9 p.m.

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Independence Day festivities planned

Published 10:09pm Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Fireworks will fill the air in downtown and Eclipse Wednesday night, following celebratory events that last all day.

Independence Day celebrations will begin with a parade in Eclipse at 11:30 a.m., followed by the raft race at 3 p.m. on the Chuckatuck Creek.

Fireworks will shoot off at 9 p.m. both in Eclipse and on Constant’s Wharf in downtown.

The downtown event, the Stars and Stripes Spectacular sponsored by Suffolk Parks and Recreation, will be held from 6 to 9:30 p.m. The band Island Boy will provide entertainment, and an area of children’s activities is available for $5. The rest of the event is free, and concessions are available for purchase.

A free shuttle service will run from 5:15 to 10:30 p.m. from the Mills E. Godwin Courthouse parking lot, the First Baptist Church parking lot, Market Park near the Suffolk Seaboard Station Railroad Museum and the Fresh Pride parking lot at 569 E. Constance Road. There is no on-site parking except for hotel guests, citizens with disabilities and vendors. These individuals need decals in their windows for entry.

Citizens are reminded that fireworks other than the two approved public displays are illegal. It also is illegal to sell or use any fireworks, including firecrackers, skyrockets, sparklers and other devices that explode or fire projectiles.

The National Fire Protection Association says that more U.S. fires are reported on a typical Independence Day than any other day. Fireworks account for more than half of those fires.

Even when fireworks aren’t around, the holiday can be dangerous for people and pets.

To keep yourself safe, follow these tips from the American Red Cross:

  • Leave the fireworks to the professionals.
  • Use grills away from buildings, deck railings and overhanging branches.
  • Keep children at least three feet away from the grill area.
  • Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited
  • Do not leave the grill unattended.

To keep your pets safe, follow these tips from the ASPCA:

  • Do not leave alcoholic drinks where pets can reach them.
  • Keep matches and lighter fluid out of your pets’ reach.
  • Do not put glow jewelry on your pets or allow them to play with it.
  • Keep insect repellant products out of pets’ reach.
  • Keep pets away from loud noises in a quiet, escape-proof area.
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