Suwannee Valley Times is distributed into the following cities and towns: Lake City, Live Oak, Madison, Branford, Dowling Park, Falmouth, Lee, Wellborn, Jasper, White Springs, Fort White, High Springs and Alachua

Returning to normal
Branford’s Independence Day Celebration was well attended

The crowds were much larger than expected at the Branford River Reunion’s 4th of July celebration. -Photo: Submitted 

By Tami Stevenson

Spring and early summer in North Florida are normally busy times as residents usually enjoy attending events and happenings around the area. This year, however, due to COVID-19, events like the Suwannee River Catfish Festival in Branford, the Florida Folk Festival at Stephen Foster State Park in White Springs, and so many others, were canceled.

The “itch” to get out and attend a community event was evident as Branford’s 4th of July celebration was well attended. Some wore masks, some did not and social distancing was encouraged. Anyone that felt they were at risk or uncomfortable about being around crowds was encouraged and advised to stay at home.

The folks that did attend the event, including vendors, were enthusiastic and happy to be able to be out. Visitors lined Suwannee Avenue waiting for the parade before going to Hatch Park for Branford River Reunion’s 4th of July evening celebration. Before the fireworks, visitors enjoyed live entertainment by Branford Highway, Booie Beach and others while browsing the vendor booths. They also offered games for kids and other activities. Food vendors were especially popular with long lines forming to get those mouth-watering menu items like pulled pork, philly steak, quesadillas and squealer fries they usually don’t make at home, not to mention the cotton candy.

Event organizer Peggy Terry said the crowds were much larger than they expected. The vendors were happy and everyone seemed to really enjoy being out.

“I had no complaints,” said Terry. “Everything went pretty smooth.”