IDAHO FALLS — There’s no need to wake up early to stake out a spot for the 4th of July parade in Idaho Falls this year.
Attending the celebration won’t be an option.
The Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce has been in charge of the Liberty on Parade for years, but due to the pandemic, the parade is canceled. Chamber CEO Chip Schwarze told EastIdahoNews.com this is the first time in its history he recalls the parade not happening.
“When you look at the governor’s guidelines for opening up, it won’t be until the end of June that we’re going to allow group meetings of more than 50 people,” Schwarze said. “We feel like it would be irresponsible for us to sponsor the parade within two weeks of that 50 meeting figure when IFPD estimated we had close to 100,000 people lining the streets last year for the parade.”
Schwarze said to have a float in the parade, people need to be working on them now, and that’s usually groups of 20 or 30 people coming together. Plus, they have to hold a meeting with all the people in the parade, which would be difficult for them to do at this time.
So far, 69 people have positively tested for COVID-19 in eastern Idaho. But as of Tuesday afternoon, only 10 of those people were still showing symptoms or being monitored by either Eastern Idaho Public Health District or Southeast Idaho Public Health District.
Statewide, 1,952 have been diagnosed with COVID-19. Of those 1,087 people are presumed recovered and 60 people are dead. No COVID-19 related deaths have occurred in eastern Idaho.
“With the guidelines in place right now, we felt like it would be irresponsible of us to try and go forward and put that many people at risk,” he said.
The parade route was planned to proceed west on 4th Street from Holmes Avenue, turn south on Boulevard and end at the intersection of Rogers Street and South Boulevard.
Schwarze said the decision to cancel was extremely difficult, but they are hoping to schedule a parade around Labor Day weekend.
“The city needs to have some celebration this summer,” Schwarze said. “This community, we love being together. We love celebrating. We love coming together as a community and we understand the 4th of July, there’s going to be a big hole.”
The Chamber will be refunding entry fees already submitted for this year’s parade. Those who paid with a credit card will receive their money back via their credit card account. Checks will be sent to those who paid with cash or checks.
“We’re as heartbroken as everybody else is about this. It’s kind of a highlight of our year. We look forward to it every year,” Schwarze said. “We’re already thinking about what we’re going to do next year.”