Heavy rains arrived Thursday just in time to spoil fireworks plans throughout Wilson County, but it didn’t dampen the spirits of hundreds who gathered at Watertown’s Stars, Stripes and Squirtguns parade.
“I’m not surprised that they chose to do this,” said Watertown City Councilman Tom Knicks. “I was born here, and I’ve been here long enough to know that nothing in Watertown surprises me.”
The original plan for the parade was to beat the heat with water pistols and balloons. But dozens of rain-soaked people gathered on the square in Watertown anyway on a day that set a record for the coolest high temperature at about 68 degrees during the parade.
“We are super excited about the parade; can’t wait to get soaking wet, and we are very sad that we can’t have fireworks,” said Julie Halter, of Nashville. “But at least we get a parade.”
Thursday’s event in Watertown was planned to culminate in a fireworks display at City Park. But Mayor Mike Jennings announced the fireworks were canceled Thursday afternoon. He said a date to reschedule the fireworks would be worked out and announced later.
“I can understand why the fireworks are out,” said Hunter Allen. “Its flooded down there where they were putting them, so I fully understand that. But being that this is a stars and stripes and squirtguns parade, what difference does it make? It’s raining. Might as well; seems like a lot of things are canceled today.”
Allen wasn’t the only parade patron disappointed about the rain and lack of fireworks Thursday.
“A little bummed out about no fireworks, but it’s all right because this is a one-of-a-kind experience,” said David Beavers, of Lebanon.
Watertown joined Mt. Juliet and Lebanon in rescheduling fireworks displays Thursday due to torrential rain.
The Mt. Juliet display will be Friday at 9 p.m. at Providence Marketplace.
"We don't want to have people looking into a rainy sky to watch fireworks," said City Manager Kenny Martin. "Hopefully we can have clear skies Friday night where families can come out and enjoy the fireworks, because it's quite an event."
Lebanon officials said the Fourth of July celebration, scheduled to begin Thursday at 4:30 p.m. and end with a fireworks show at 9 p.m. at the Ward Ag Center, was canceled.
Mayor Philip Craighead said the fireworks celebration would instead be Sept. 11 in remembrance of the 2001 terrorist attacks on the U.S.
“That was the closest patriotic holiday that made sense to have fireworks,” Councilor Rob Cesternino said. “So we decided to have it then.”
Lebanon annually budgets $25,000 for its Fourth of July celebration.
In Trousdale County, the Hartsville Fourth of July Parade and Music in the Park was postponed until Saturday at 4 p.m., but fireworks there went off Thursday as planned.
– Democrat correspondent Gabe Farmer contributed to this report.