Arthur cancels celebrations

Published 8:48 pm Thursday, July 3, 2014

With Hurricane Arthur blowing in for the Fourth of July, the Chuckatuck Creek raft race has been postponed until 3 p.m. Saturday, according to Ben Johnson of the CE&H Ruritan Club.

But the Eclipse fireworks — also organized by the Ruritan Club — were still scheduled to go ahead as planned at 9 p.m. But that could change, Johnson added, if the storm doesn’t follow predictions and blow out in time for the show.

The city also announced on Thursday that the Stars and Stripes Spectacular scheduled for Friday at Constant’s Wharf has been postponed. The fireworks have been rescheduled for July 18 at the TGIF concert, also at Constant’s Wharf.

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Mike Rusnak with the National Weather Service said on Thursday that Arthur’s strongest weather will hit Hampton Roads between 2 and 10 a.m. Friday. Inland winds are expected to be about 20 to 30 miles per hour, with one to two inches of rain in Suffolk.

Arthur was expected to become a Category 2 storm by the time it made landfall or its closest approach to the East Coast.

“It’s a quick-moving storm,” Rusnak. “Once the rain hits tomorrow, the sun will come out, and it will be a really nice evening for the Fourth of July.”

Bob Earl says that he and his co-organizers at Ebenezer United Methodist Church decided that Eclipse events — other than the raft race — will go ahead as planned.

“We are going to proceed as scheduled with all the events, which include the parade, opening ceremony, the food and the blow-up rides and things for the kids — and the bands,” Earl said.

While the city recommended not going ahead with the events, he said, “our position is, if the weather’s bad and we can’t do a part of it, we don’t do what we don’t do and we do what we can.”

After the city canceled downtown events, “maybe we’ll have a bigger crowd in Eclipse,” Earl said.

The Eclipse celebrations that are scheduled include a bicycle and float parade at 10:30 a.m.; an opening ceremony inside Ebenezer United Methodist Church’s Family Life Center at 11:30 a.m.; food sales from noon to 3 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m.; family fun on the church’s soccer fields from noon to 3 p.m.; music by the Nate Sparks Band and Blues Brothers from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.; and fireworks beginning at 9 p.m. Call 238-2359 for more information.

According to its Facebook page, Isle of Wight County still plans fireworks shows in Smithfield on Thursday night and in Windsor on Friday night. Each begins at 9:30 p.m.