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Galax’s Fourth of July fireworks will be held one night only — just not on July 4 as in past years.
This year, fireworks will be held at 11 p.m. in Felts Park on Saturday, June 30, instead of July 4 as a result of scheduling conflicts and new state regulations.
Each year, thousands of spectators gather in or near Felts Park on July 4 to watch fireworks fired off by Galax Volunteer Fire Department members.
This year, new regulations require the fire department to hire an individual that is certified in shooting pyrotechnics, adding to the expense of putting on the fireworks show.
Galax Fire Chief David Hankley said the department has hired a certified pyrotechnician from the company where it purchases fireworks each year.
Hankley said the company is doing the fire department a favor by providing the fireworks technician at a discounted rate.
But, because of the technician’s schedule during the July 4 week, he is only able to set off fireworks on Saturday in Galax.
For the past 50 years, six to eight Galax volunteer firefighters have taken care of fireworks, with Galax firefighter Mark Burnett leading the fireworks team.
“We used to do fireworks six days a week, but with the rising cost, we dropped to one night a week,” said Hankley.
It costs about $5,000 to $6,000 to set off fireworks for one night, said Hankley, noting that the department receives some funding assistance from the city.
Hankley said the department may look into certifying a member of the department to set off fireworks in future years.
The Galax Volunteer Fire Department’s annual carnival will also be held in Felts Park this week, with rides and events starting June 28 and ending on July 4.
The carnival will feature about 20 rides from Michael’s Amusements.
On Thursday, gate admission will be $10 for unlimited rides.
Lawnmower races will be held on Friday and Saturday, featuring two rival associations, Independent Mower Racers and the Drivers of Brushy Mountain. All mowers and divers are welcome, regardless of affiliation.
Gates open at 5 p.m., with racing at 6 p.m. each day. Adult tickets for the races are $6 and $3 for children.
Carnival wrist bands and regular ticket sales will be available. Regular gate admission prices are $2 for adults and $1 for children.
The carnival will offer special pricing July 2. Carnival attendees can buy one wrist band and get the second wrist band free.
On July 3, carnival wrists bands and regular tickets will be available.
On July 4, the annual parade will be held in downtown Galax at 4 p.m.
That day, the carnival will offer a $10 gate admission with unlimited rides.
Each paid adult gate ticket will be entered into a $300 nightly drawing at 11 p.m.