Meghan Freeman of the Hope Mills Parks and Recreation staff began exploring alternative ways to celebrate the holiday and learned of a tradition in another town involving decorating homes and businesses. Freeman thought it was a cute way to observe the holiday while still keeping safe through social distancing.
Townsfolk are urged to show off their patriotism in any manner they choose. It can include displays of red, white and blue, or they can put together a display that honors first responders or essential workers.
“The purpose of decorating is to unleash their creativity and bring a smile to their neighbors,’’ Freeman said. If they don’t have a porch or lawn, Freeman said homeowners, apartment dwellers and businesses in Hope Mills can decorate anything about their location that can be seen from the street or the sidewalk.
People who have piers on Hope Mills Lake are also welcome to decorate those, but Freeman said she doesn’t plan to include them in the decorating contest that the town will be conducting.
There will be three categories in the decorating contest. They are most patriotic, most outstanding decoration and spirit of freedom. Prizes will be awarded in each category, but Freeman said a final decision on the nature of the prizes won’t be announced until June 30.
Registration closed prior to the publication of this article. Contestants need to have their decorations in place by June 30 and leave them on display through July 5, which is when the winners will be announced.
A committee of elected town officials will drive around to look at the various decorations and make the decision on the winner.
Anyone who registered for the competition will have their home marked on an interactive map on the townofhopemills.com website, so people can have a virtual map to find the decorated homes.
It will indicate both the address and whether or not the decorations include lights that can be seen at night. The first 50 who sign up will also get
“We could have easily just thrown up our hands,’’ Freeman said. “I think we are providing an outlet for some sort of patriotism. It brings the community together and it’s a time to have fun.’’
Deputy Chief Bradley Dean of the Hope Mills Police Department reminded everyone planning their own fireworks that anything that shoots into the air or explodes is illegal without a pyrotechnic license.
Dean added the police would rather educate than enforce, but if someone is injured or property damage results from illegal fireworks, they have no choice. “We want people to be safe,’’ he said.