Clevelanders flood Voinovich Park to celebrate 4th of July after more than a year of pandemic restrictions

Published: Jul. 4, 2021 at 9:59 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Fireworks lit up the lake for the first time since 2019 Sunday evening and they didn’t disappoint the thousands who converged on downtown Cleveland to celebrate the Fourth of July.

As “Light up the Lake” returned to Cleveland it was a day to celebrate in more ways than one.

“We got married last year on the Fourth of July,” said one reveler. “It’s our first anniversary!”

Others were happy to put the pandemic in their rearview mirror.

“I have been in the house with this COVID thing for a year,” said Becky Cardinal who was attending the fireworks with her friends from Cleveland. “I am so excited to have a nice holiday.”

Many said they appreciated this Independence Day in a whole new way.

“It makes you appreciate it more! Now that we didn’t have it now I appreciate it way more,” said Samantha Direnda who was also celebrating her birthday. “My face is free — no masks!”

Others added that — after a year of setbacks and restrictions — they had a greater understanding of what the day is all about.

“Freedom. You appreciate freedom a lot more. I don’t like the government telling me I can’t go out or telling me I have to wear a mask. It’s my decision,” said a man who identified himself as New York Joe.

Many people in the crowd were visiting Cleveland from other parts of the country.

Happy 4th of July from Voinovich Park in Cleveland.

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