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July 4th fireworks show back on in Charles City

July 4th fireworks show back on in Charles City
Scott and Lisa Soifer, owner of Soifer Family McDonald’s, and their children, from left, Theodore, Ross and Vivian, are donating $12,000 to sponsor the Charles City July 4 fireworks display this year. Receiving the representative check are Angie Reams, with the fireworks committee of Community Revitalization, and Community Development Director Mark Wicks. Press photo by Bob Steenson

Soifer Family McDonald’s sponsoring alternative format

By Bob Steenson,

There will be a fireworks show after all this July 4th in Charles City.

“Thanks to the generosity and community spirit of a local business, along with continued efforts by the organizing committee, we will have a fireworks show for the community to enjoy,” said Community Development Director Mark Wicks.

The ability to have a show is primarily due to Soifer Family McDonald’s owner/operator Scott Soifer, Wicks said.

“I think Independence Day is important for the community,” Soifer told the Press.

He said his family has been connected with Independence Day in Charles City ever since Kids Day sponsored by McDonald’s was founded by his parents back in the 1980s.

“It was growing up with McDonald’s and America’s Hometown and Charles City,” he said.

“When we realized that some of these events were being canceled we understood the reasons why. But as we started seeing some other communities find ways to do fireworks or part of their celebrations with social distancing, we reached out,” Soifer said.

“We understood part of the barrier was fundraising. A lot of businesses were impacted (by COVID-19), and those are the businesses that oftentimes write sponsorship checks for these sorts of celebrations,” Soifer said.

“We were just blessed that we were able to stay open with the drive-thru throughout and the community has been supportive. We’re glad we’ve been able to be here to serve the community,” he said. “This is just one more way we could give back, and hopefully people have a wonderful Independence Day celebration right here in America’s Hometown.”

Soifer Family McDonald’s is covering the entire $12,000 cost of the fireworks show this year.

“This has been a real rollercoaster ride trying to make this happen during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Wicks said. “The usual downtown location was problematic this year for a number of reasons.”

The Fireworks Committee of Community Revitalization looked at a number of alternate locations where fireworks can be shot off and watched safety with adequate social distancing.

“Neither the airport nor the fairgrounds worked out. So we took the crowd factor out of the equation and came up with a shoot site that should be visible over much of Charles City,” Wicks said.

“Most people should be able to watch from their yards or their vehicles in open parking lots in town if there is too much tree cover where they live,” he said. “We will not have a designated area where they can gather this year. Where they watch is up to them, as is maintaining their social distancing.”

The undisclosed launch site will be on the southeast side of town. That location has a higher elevation than downtown and will allow for the use of larger shells, which go up higher for better overall visibility around the community.

“We need everyone to also pitch in and be responsible in terms of their own health, safety and social distancing,” said Wicks. “There should be plenty of viewing opportunities, so please stay off of the shoulders of busy main roadways.”

For safety reasons, vehicles are being strongly discouraged from parking along South Grand Avenue or the Avenue of the Saints.

The fireworks show will begin around 10 p.m. and should last approximately half an hour. KCHA radio will be broadcasting patriotic music during the show.

Community Revitalization is Charles City’s volunteer-driven Main Street Iowa program. Donations toward the annual fireworks shows can be directed to Community Revitalization, 401 North Main St., Charles City, IA 50616. Contact the office at 641-228-2335 or for more information.

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