While several longtime Independence Day events around the community have been canceled due to COVID-19, there will still be one place to go for fireworks this weekend.
Eastlake Community Church is planning three days of events to commemorate the grand opening of its new church in Moneta. The church was completed in April, but celebrations were postponed due to COVID-19.
Festivities are scheduled to begin Friday with an Independence Day celebration on the new church campus at 1201 Timberwood Lane in Moneta. The campus will open for parking at 8 p.m., and fireworks are expected to begin around 9:30 p.m.
Pastor Troy Keaton said visitors can choose to stay in their cars to watch the fireworks or bring chairs or a blanket and sit in an open field. While there are no plans to have any food vendors at the event, he said church staff will provide free water to those who need it.
This will be the second year the church has had the fireworks show. Keaton said between 3,000 and 4,000 people attended last year and expected that more would attend this year as other events have been canceled.
There is no cost to attend the fireworks show, Keaton said.
On July 4, the church will host its second annual Beastlake 5K. Participants can choose to compete in a traditional 5K, a 5K with an obstacle course or a 1.5-mile obstacle course.
The race course runs through the church property and will have electronic timing for competitive runners. Those who participate in the obstacle course will maneuver through 10 obstacles, including a 14-foot warped wall.
Proceeds from the race will benefit Smith Mountain Lake Christian Academy. Information on costs and race sign-up is available at beastlake5k.com.
The celebration will continue July 5 with Sunday services at 9 and 11 a.m. Keaton said he has several special guest planned for the grand opening.
Southern gospel group, The Collingsworth Family, will perform in concert at the church at 6 p.m. While that event is sold out, Keaton said the church is looking into ways to livestream the event.