SOUTHPORT, NC (WWAY) — Coronavirus isn’t stopping Fourth of July activities in Southport. Residents are not letting this 225 year old tradition die.
Residents say there is a different scenery, feel and crowd in historic Southport this year.
“It was a little eerie because there’s usually upwards of 40 – 50 thousand people here,” Trisha Howarth, the festival Co-Chair said. “Usually 2 days before the 4th, you see streets lined with lawn chairs. You see tents. You see people getting ready for the parade, which is huge.”
Howarth says this longstanding tradition dates back to 1795.
Randy Jones, another festival co-chair, says not having streets filled with floats was a hard reality to wake up to.
“I was on my first float when I was 4-years old, so the idea of not having a parade really is a change,” Jones said.
But Jones says, no matter what coronavirus does, it isn’t taking away the American spirit that lives in Southport.
“We tried our best to recreate that and really give people the idea that we’re proud to be an American and we are so proud to be the beacon of the 4th of July festival,” Jones said.
The virtual festival features many activities related to the festival’s history.
Although the festival was forced to move online, some residents couldn’t pass up the opportunity to parade their decorated golf carts down Howe and Moore streets.
Either way, Jones says he hopes to see everyone back on Southport streets next year.