No fireworks? No problem. Soccer, swimming, sun and a Declaration of Independence reading mark Hburg’s July 4 weekend

By Randi B. Hagi, assistant editor

With Harrisonburg cancelling its annual Friendly City Fourth festival and fireworks display due to the pandemic, area residents found other ways to commemorate Independence Day — some with and some without social distancing.

Thirteen miles west of town, “Blue Hole” on the Dry River, a popular swimming spot for city and county residents, was packed on Saturday.

The Fort Harrison chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution commemorated the day with their 25th annual reading of the Declaration of Independence, concluded by a historical-style muster.

“I’m dressed as a revolutionary war militiaman, or just the common folk,” said Mark Thomas. “Other guys have leather leggings on, which is reminiscent of the Indian culture of the time.”

Thomas made the flintlock musket he brought to the Declaration reading. He runs a business creating artifacts reminiscent of the 18th and 19th centuries, including jewelry, powder horns and knives.

Melissa Fisher and Karen Thomas spent part of Saturday handing out Black Lives Matter signs that people bought ahead of time. Thomas is the president of the Northeast Neighborhood Association, the beneficiary of the sale’s proceeds.

Tucked back on the north end of city limits, Horizons Edge Sports Campus hosted a “Firecracker” three-on-three soccer tournament for children and adults on the fourth. Horizons Edge resumed tournaments along with Virginia’s phase three of reopening.

Jack Brown’s (black jersey) and Last Minute FC (white jersey) were two of 18 teams that competed in the tournament.

Some of Blue Hole’s more adventurous visitors launched off of a tall rock into the water.

Friends and families floated in Dry River, barbecued on the banks, and perched on rocks.

Eva Didot, owner of Didot Crepes, and employee Zoelle Bleazard ran the crepes stand at Brothers Craft Brewing in Harrisonburg. While business was a bit slow around 5:30 p.m., Didot said they did well at the farmer’s market that morning.

Londia Bowers celebrates with a beer flight at Brothers.

(Photo courtesy of Brandy Somers)

Jason Klinedinst, Stanley Peyton, Mike Koontz, Brandy Somers, along with Leena, hiked to Strickler Knob Friday morning as part of the Valley 4th RUN Across America effort. Instead of an annual race that VA Momentum puts on each July 4, the organization encouraged runners to participate in the RUN Across America — a collective effort for participants to run or walk 6,136 miles across the country between 8 a.m. Friday, July 3, and 8 p.m. Sunday, July 5th, and log the miles on the organization’s online platform.

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