Fireworks (copy)

Spectators watch the fireworks display at the Upper Missouri Valley Fairgrounds in 2019. 

Williston’s Fourth of July fireworks celebration will indeed go on, but with a few changes due to social distancing precautions.

Greg “Skippy” Cottrell and Adam Natwick have been working on the annual community fireworks show since last year, but COVID-19 threw a wrench into those plans when social distancing started to become the new norm. The pair were not dissuaded, however, and have re-worked their original idea several times to come up with a show that will entertain, while allowing people to keep their distance.

The show will take place at the Upper Missouri Valley Fairgrounds on July 4, kicking off at 10:45 p.m. Absent this year will be the food vendors and live music, but Cottrell and Natwick say the fireworks will more than make up for it.

Spectators are asked to remain inside their cars during the show, and Cherry Creek Radio will be broadcasting music to coincide with the display, which will last a little more than 30 minutes.

Natwick, owner of Explosive Enterprises in Williston, said that one of the major changes to the show is the type of fireworks used. typically he tries to incorporate some ground-type fireworks, but with everyone staying in their vehicles, he said the focus has been on more high-flying spectacles.

“We tried to go with a lot more higher-quality fireworks than we’ve ever had before,” Natwick told the Williston Herald. “That will slow it down a little bit, allow people to maybe catch their breath a bit more than last year. It should be quite a bit different than any other year we’ve done.”

Cottrell said one benefit of the changes this year is that anyone in the surrounding area will be able to take in the show, music and all. He added that aside from the fairgrounds, the best places to view will be to the west. Natwick said around 3,000 pounds of explosives have been purchased for the show, thanks to support from more than a dozen community sponsors.

One important note is that no outside alcohol or fireworks will be permitted in the fairgrounds during the show, and violators will be asked to leave. Cottrell and Natwick are also looking for volunteers to help with clean-up on July 5. Cottrell said any organizations that would like to help would receive an in-kind donation.

For more information or to volunteer to help, visit the Williston 4th of July Community Celebration Facebook page at

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