Mayor Anthony Williams allows Abilene Freedom Fest to continue as scheduled


ABILENE, Texas (KRBC/KTAB) – A recent executive order by Governor Greg Abbott states that the number of positive COVID-19 cases has actually increased since his last press conference, and now he’s putting outside gatherings of a 100 people or more on the cutting block, unless sanctioned by local government.  

“So, the celebration around the Fourth of July and other entities associated with that that have taken months of planning. And so we wanted to allow those things to happen,” City of Abilene Mayor Anthony Williams said.  

That comes as good news to Gary Grubbs, Event Coordinator of the Abilene Freedom Fest, who says their West Texas Connect Firework Spectacular will go on without a hitch.   

“And it is spectacular,” he said. “In 2018 it was the largest in the State of Texas.”   

But since then, it’s fair to say things have changed.   

“The last two years we haven’t had to contend with COVID-19,” he said.  

But it won’t stop the event from being any less fun. With more safety precautions in the works, the feel of the event will be even better, he says.   

“We will have the germ killers going through every hour and sanitizing the kids area,” he said. “We will be handing out sanitizer to everybody that comes into the event.”  

In recent years the event averaged 5,000 guests, which could make some feel uneasy.  

“There’s plenty of room,” he said. “If we had 5,000 people, I doubt very seriously that would represent more than 10 or 15% of what the crowd capability would be at the Expo Center.”   

From wearing PPE to staying aware of social distancing, Grubbs said it’s going to come down to everyone’s collective participation so that things stay controlled and safe.  

Mayor Anthony Williams said he’ll meet with the county judge and city council to see if it’s safe enough to have events over 100 for the month of August.   

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