The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Enjoy Fourth of July, but take some precautions
BY LIANA BAYNE
If you’re planning on heading out to enjoy everything the Fredericksburg area has to offer on the Fourth of July, don’t forget sunscreen and water.
Jared Klein, a forecaster for the National Weather Service’s Baltimore/Washington office, based in Sterling, said Wednesday will be hot and sunny. The highs will be in the mid-90s, but the heat index could be close to 100. Klein also said the humidity today would be higher than earlier this week.
“Sensitive individuals should avoid prolonged exposure to the heat,” he said. “Try to find shade in the afternoon.”
Klein said there’s a 40 percent chance that thunderstorms would develop in the afternoon or evening.
Despite the weather, organizers for many area events said yesterday that they aren’t changing their plans.
Roberta Gold, coordinator for Fredericksburg’s Heritage Festival, said she’s always seen hot temperatures for the past 13 years. The Heritage Festival will have a misting tent set up during the Festival of the Streets.
Other event coordinators in Culpeper, Dahlgren and Ferry Farm said the heat and recent power outages won’t cancel or change plans.
Make your event attendance as safe as possible with water, shade and sunscreen.
Don’t forget about fire safety during celebrations either.
Both the Virginia Department of Forestry and the Fredericksburg Fire Department urged caution when using fireworks at home. According to a press release from the VDOF, conditions in much of the state are right to spark a fire because less-than-average rainfall has left a lot of dry grass and brush.
Both organizations encourage using fireworks in areas away from brush. Use caution when children and fireworks are in the same area, too. The Fredericksburg Fire Department pointed out that sparklers, popular with children, can reach temperatures upwards of 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit. By comparison, glass can begin to melt at about 900 degrees Fahrenheit.
Other tips include: only light one firework at a time, don’t re-light fireworks that didn’t go off the first time and keep dogs away from fireworks.
A cooking fire or bonfire could also spark a brush fire, so the VDOF suggests keeping water, a rake and a shovel on hand.
Fredericksburg Deputy Fire Chief Mike Jones aslo urged caution around the Rappahannock River.
“The river looks tranquil,” he said, “but once you get in the water there are rocks and holes.”
Jones said a person could be ankle deep in water, take a step and suddenly be chest deep or deeper because of holes in the riverbed.
And, Jones said, even if it’s not raining in Fredericksburg, a thunderstorm upriver can cause the water level to rise and become unsafe.
Jones said the department is called to do at least a dozen water rescues a year. Many of those happen at dusk, he said, when people can be tired and dehydrated after a long day outside. For that reason, he suggested using extra caution around the end of the day.
Jones also said people should use personal flotation devices in the water, not entering fast-moving water, and making sure not to depend on another person as your only means of getting out of a potentially dangerous situation.
People can also check several water gauges along the river that will indicate if the water level is safe. One gauge is located at the Falmouth bridge and another is along Fall Hill Avenue.
The Virginia State Police in conjunction with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries will be on the lookout for boaters and drivers who are under the influence.
The state is launching a zero-tolerance advertising campaign for drunken and drugged drivers — no matter the vehicle.
The state police will have 75 percent of its uniformed workforce patrolling highways between Wednesday and Sunday night.
During last year’s July Fourth week, 14 people died in crashes in Virginia. During the same time period, 117 people statewide were charged with impaired driving; 10,522 with speeding; 2,805 with reckless driving; 869 safety belt violations and 343 with child safety belt violations.
Being mindful of safety in the heat, on the roads and in the water will help make your Independence Day celebrations as joyful as they can be.
Liana Bayne: 540/374-5444
AREA JULY FOURTH EVENTS
Heritage Festival Five-Mile Run. Registration starts 6:30 a.m. at the Fredericksburg Visitor Center. Race starts at 7:45 a.m. 540/371-4811.
Heritage Day Parade, Caroline Street to Princess Anne Street to Lafayette Boulevard. Prizes for best costume and most creative bicycle. 9:30 a.m. 540/371-4811.
Festival of the Streets, downtown Fredericksburg. Live entertainment, crafts, classic car show, dunking booth, children’s activities. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 540/371-4811.
Ferry Farm’s Fabulous Fourth of July, George Washington’s Ferry Farm, 268 Kings Highway. Trolleys will run to and from downtown Fredericksburg and the Eagles lodge, Cool Spring Road. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 540/371-3363.
Rappahannock River Raft Race. Begins at 11:30 a.m. at Falmouth Waterfront Park and ends at City Dock. 540/371-4811.
Independence Day Spectacular, Pratt Park, 120 River Road, Stafford. Opens at 6 p.m. Music by the UMW Philharmonic Orchestra at 8 p.m. and a fireworks show at 9:15 p.m. Bring lawn chairs and picnic. 540/371-4811.
Independence Day Celebration, Port Royal. Reading of the Declaration of Independence, patriotic music, 18th-century dancing, blacksmithing, spinning and weaving, living-history encampment, children’s games, surrey rides. 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Free. 804/633-7006.
Fourth of July Celebration, Main Street, Davis Street and Yowell Meadow Park, Culpeper. Sporting events, patriotic speeches, parade, children’s activities, entertainment, fireworks. 8 a.m.–10 p.m. Rain date for fireworks and park events: July 5. 540/829-8278.
13th annual Fourth of July Car and Bike Show, downtown Culpeper, Davis Street and The Depot. Custom, classic, and antique cars, hot rods, street rods, motorcycles and trucks. Classic mustangs (1964–73) will be featured. DJ music, food, raffle. Register 8–10 a.m. $10 in advance, $15 on-site. Show is 10 a.m. to
3 p.m. Free to spectators. 540/825-4416; culpeperdowntown.com.
Fourth of July Celebration, Dahlgren, King George County. Music by Glass Onion Band, followed by a performance by Matthew and Gunnar Nelson (sons of Ricky Nelson), children’s games, crafts, talent show, zip line, car show (register in advance at 540/653-8785). Events begin at 4 p.m. Free. All attendees over the age of 16 must provide a photo ID to get onto the base. Lawn chairs permitted. Coolers, alcohol, personal firearms, fireworks, awnings and pets are banned. 866/359-5540 or 540/653-8153.
July 4th Celebration, Colonial Beach. Trolley service, boat tours and fireworks from the municipal pier; colonialbeach.org.
July 4th Celebration, Graves’ Mountain Lodge, Syria. Pony rides, food, music by Dry Run Band, fireworks. 4–10 p.m. Free. 540/923-4231.
Independence Day Celebration, Great Meadow Foundation, 5089 Old Tavern Road, The Plains. Stick pony races, face painting, petting zoo, rain machine, helicopter displays, rocketry launches and polo matches. 4–10 p.m. $40 per vehicle. 540/253-5000.