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COVID-19 forces Menan to cancel its 4th of July celebration


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Menan 4th of July celebration. | Courtesy Menan, Idaho Facbeook page.

MENAN — More events are being canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Menan 4th of July celebration is one of them.

The unanimous decision to call off this year’s festivities was made by the city council Thursday night. The day-long celebration, including the breakfast and flag-raising ceremony, booths, parade, and fireworks won’t happen in 2020.

“They really had a hard time with it. We love the 4th of July in Menan,” Mikelle Bronson, the head of the 4th of July committee, told “With all of the information that we had, we really felt like that was the best decision to make.”

Bronson said a lot of the discussion was if they could keep the events to locals only. Menan is just under 800 people right now, but she said last year they counted almost 20,000 people on the parade route.

“We know that they aren’t all local,” she said. “They were all concerned about that, but also with Idaho Falls canceling their 4th of July celebrations, we felt like we’d get even more people, that we’d probably be at least double what we were last year. Our small town, we can’t handle that influx of people on that day.”

Honoring the governor’s order to stay six-feet apart from one another is something Bronson said would be difficult.

While some citizens believe a firework show wouldn’t pose any harm, Bronson said the money they bring in on Independence Day helps pay for the next year’s firework show. The fireworks have to be purchased at least six weeks out, so now was the time to make the decision.

“If we lit off fireworks this year, we wouldn’t have any money for next year’s fireworks because we don’t have that money coming in this year,” she said.

Bronson said she knows people have asked why the decision was made so early. But she explained that an event this big can’t be canceled on short notice.

“One thing we thought about was that this shut down has really affected a lot of people and we wanted to be able to save people as much money as possible but make the decision as late as possible,” Bronson said. “With the booths, we didn’t want them to order or buy anything and not have a way to sell it. We wanted to be able to strike a balance between waiting as long as possible to make the decision to see what was happening and also not have people be out money.”

Refunds for floats and booths will be given, or booth payments can be rolled into reserving a spot for next year.

“This is just a crazy year. It’s not like we’re canceling the whole everything. We’re canceling the celebration, but there’s plenty of other things that people can do,” Bronson said. “(It) may be a good year to use their imagination and come up with some other way to celebrate.”

Menan plans to hold their next 4th of July celebration in 2021.