Gillette celebrates America’s independence at a previous 4th of July parade.
This year’s 4th of July celebration will be pared back significantly, according to a June 1 release from Campbell County Parks and Recreation District, who announced Monday it would be cancelling the annual day-long celebration with the exception of the firework show. Citing the COVID-19 pandemic as the reason for cancellation, Recreation Superintendent Adam Gibson said that all activities, including the pancake feed, 4-mile run, parade and all events at Bicentennial Park have been cancelled.
“This wasn’t an easy decision,” Gibson said by phone Tuesday morning, noting that the decision was made in careful consultation with Campbell County Public Health.
It will be the first time in more than 30 years, he believed, that the day of festivities will be nixed. Though they’ve had late starts and delays due to weather, this will be the first time that it is officially cancelled.
“There was just no way to maintain social distancing,” he said, noting that crowds have been upwards of 3,000 people at 4th of July events in past years.
“Nobody’s happy about this,” he said.
The annual firework display, however, is still on for the evening of July 4 at Cam-Plex Morningside Park within compliance of current public health guidelines, which Gibson said may be relaxed by early July. For now, however, they hope to be able to open up Morningside Park for seating with 20×20 individual square plots (or whatever size configuration works best) to allow for family seating with aisles in between to allow for safe passage and the requisite six-foot space.
Some people enjoy being in the park, he noted, while others prefer to watch from lawn chairs or their pickup beds in the parking lot.
Likely, unless restrictions are eased considerably, they will not be opening up the stands for seating.
“It could all change by July,” he said, noting that the Governor has two more press briefings leading up to the holiday.
“We were looking forward to celebrating America’s independence with the entire community, but our primary concern continues to be the health, safety and welfare of our residents, employees and visitors,” he said, adding that they will have security on hand to ensure families and large groups are separating.
Pending the easing of public health restrictions in the weeks and months to come, Gibson said they are still hoping to hold an abbreviated celebration later in the year when large-scale gatherings above 250 people are allowed, he said, but he’s not sure at this point what that might look like.