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Clayton's July 4th Celebration & Fireworks Canceled - VIRTUAL CONCERT JULY 4TH

05/29/2020

The Town of Clayton joined hundreds of other towns across America in canceling our biggest patriotic tradition – the four-decade-old Independence Day Celebration at Municipal Park. 
 
For 40 years, no matter what day it fell on, July 4th in Clayton has always meant a huge community celebration in the park, featuring free ice cream, watermelon, potato sack races, bingo, a free concert and the best fireworks show around. It typically drew thousands of families to Downtown Clayton. But in 2020, July 4th falls amidst a pandemic. Right now, outdoor gatherings are being limited to 25 and there are uncertainties how many people will be able to gather in Phase III of the state’s re-opening plan.
 
Staff explored the option of a drive-in fireworks show, but an exhaustive search to find a spot where we could shoot off pyrotechnics AND provide plenty of parking turned up no safe locations. Our fireworks vendor has kindly agreed to allow us to move the Town’s deposit to next July 4th without penalty or extra charge. 
 
Instead, the Town of Clayton's performing arts center, The Clayton Center, is planning an awesome alternative on the evening of July 4th. It's something retro, local and totally cool – and it’s free fun for the whole family!  The Malpass Brothers – favorite hometown boys from eastern North Carolina – will perform a virtual concert live from historic stage of The Clayton Center beginning at 7 p.m. on Saturday, July 4. You can access the free livestream via Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TheClaytonCenter/LIVE - which should be accessible to anyone regardless of whether you have a Facebook account or not. 

How better to celebrate Independence Day than with a band that is as authentic as chopped pork barbecue and hush puppies and every bit as American as apple pie? With the Malpass Brothers you can count on classic country. Count on new Malpass tunes. Count on a couple of old-time traditional gospels. Most of all, count on a good time together at home with The Malpass Brothers. They will be waving the banner of pure, traditional country music. These Goldsboro brothers grew up soaking up their granddad’s phonograph records and perform in the style of the greats like Johnny Cash, Marty Robbins, and Hank Williams, Sr.  Mentored by country-legend Merle Haggard after touring with him for seven years, the Malpass Brothers made their debut at the Grand Ole Opry in October to standing ovations. These two 20-something siblings exchange funny, off-the-cuff quips while playing tribute to classic county, as well as originals that celebrate the rich American cultural heritage of country music.

This livestream is presented by The Clayton Center in collaboration with the N.C. Arts Council and Clayton Cultural Arts Foundation, is free, but you can support The Malpass Brothers with a donation via PayPal at paypal.me/malpassbrothers.

“All around us we are seeing amazing examples of creativity and adaptability – from businesses, to our town staff, to individual community members showing support for each other in these difficult times,” said Town of Clayton Mayor Jody McLeod. “I know the dedicated volunteers with the Clayton Community Recreational Foundation wanted to find a way to make this favorite family event happen. Clayton Parks & Recreation, Clayton Police, Clayton Fire and Johnston County Emergency Services all work to make this a safe and memorable event every year. But they all agree, we just can’t make it happen THIS July 4th. We’re grateful to our staff with The Clayton Center who snagged a great opportunity to bring some amazing musicians LIVE from Downtown Clayton to our Clayton community through some cool virtual technology!”

Town leaders want to recognize and sincerely thank the sponsors who had already committed to being a part of our 2020 July 4th event: Oberweiss Dairy, Hometowne Realty, Meineke Car Care and Hudson’s Hardware. We can’t thank you enough for your generosity and understanding.  

We also want to let you know that our wonderful community partners with the Clayton Rotary Club are planning a wonderful patriotic tribute with their first annual Flags for Heroes initiative. They plan to have an inspiring display of large American flags near the grassy field and pond on NC 42 West just before Johnston Health hospital from June 28 through July 4th. The Flags for Heroes initiative is meant to engage the entire community and will serve as a reminder to celebrate, remember and recognize the heroes that have served and sacrificed for our freedom, health and safety.

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