Covid douses local public Fourth of July celeberations

Traditional local celebrations to mark the nation’s birthday will not be held this year because of Covid. (FILE/Kat Seals-KnR Photography/Special to the Enterprise)

ONTARIO – The annual fireworks display sponsored by the Ontario Area Chamber of Commerce is canceled this Fourth of July because of Covid.

Traditionally, the city fireworks display to mark the nation’s birthday is held at Beck-Kiwanis Park and usually attracts a large crowd.

“With everyone gathered at the park like they did in the past there is no way we could guarantee social distancing,” said John Breidenbach, Ontario Area Chamber of Commerce president and chief executive officer.

Breidenbach said he didn’t know of any large fireworks displays anywhere in the Treasure Valley this year.

“I know McCall and Boise have canceled,” said Breidenbach.

Breidenbach said the fireworks display costs about $8,000 and is paid for through the annual Lions Club Buck-a-roo Supper event and proceeds from the city’s motel tax.

The supper was canceled this year and proceeds from the lodging tax have been down because of the virus, said Breidenbach.

Fourth of July in Vale usually means a multi-day rodeo plus a parade but neither of those events are on this year.

Organizers canceled the Vale 4th of July Rodeo in May. The annual rodeo tie-in parade is also canceled.

In Oregon, fireworks retail outlets opened Tuesday and will run through Monday, July 6.

Ontario Fire Chief Terry Leighton said his crews will be out and about on July 4 to ensure fireworks are handled safely. Leighton said in Oregon, any firework that flies into the air, explodes or travels more than 12 feet off the ground is illegal without a permit from the Oregon State Fire Marshal. Fireworks such as bottle rockets, roman candles and firecrackers are illegal in Oregon without permit.

News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected] or 541-235-1003.


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