Rexburg planning to celebrate 4th of July with rodeo, parade and fireworks
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REXBURG — While many Independence Day festivities have been canceled throughout eastern Idaho due to COVID-19 — one city plans to move forward with celebrations.
The Rexburg Area Chamber of Commerce, the city of Rexburg and Madison County are making preparations for 4th of July festivities. They haven’t announced all the details yet, but the government and business entities are planning to hold their annual Whoopee Days Rodeo at the Madison County Fairgrounds on July 3 and July 4.
They are also planning a parade at 10 a.m. July 4, and a firework show that evening.
“Our participant’s safety and the community’s safety is our number one goal, at the same time, our businesses have expressed a real desire to be able to have the parade so that they can get their businesses back in front of the potential customers,” Rexburg Area Chamber of Commerce CEO Chris Mann told EastIdahoNews.com.
The parade route has been extended. The longer route now includes more open space for patrons to sit farther apart from other people in order to feel safe. Mann said they’re adding five blocks of park space to the parade route.
The route will start above Smith Park and instead of going across Porter Park, the parade will go around Porter Park.
“Our parade is not a great big sponsored parade. Our theme this year that we picked in March is ‘Celebrate Small Town America,'” Mann explained. “We’ve always considered this a smaller parade than some of the other communities are doing, and we are trying not to really grow the parade this year.”
They are working on finding a way to broadcast the parade via video or live streaming so people can stay at home if that’s what they choose, Mann said. They’re also figuring out how people can safely pass out coupons and flyers during the parade.
“We’re also mindful of other people (and the) decisions they’ve had to make, (such as) Melaleuca, the Idaho Falls parade,” he said. “We don’t feel we’re in that same category. We don’t attract 200,000 people, so it’s a little bit easier for us to maintain.”
Mann said they aren’t trying to make this parade the draw of eastern Idaho.
“I believe this is a local parade that will attract local people in the Madison County. We don’t see it extending beyond what it normally is. I think the crowd will be a little less,” he said. “Most people who go to the parade are there because it’s a family tradition to go to that particular parade and they go to watch their grandchildren, nieces, nephews and neighbors perform in the parade.”
Mann said they called over 50% of the parade participants from last year and asked them if they were comfortable with them holding the parade this year.
“Every one of them said, ‘Yes.’ There was one group who said, ‘We don’t think we can walk that extra mile,'” he said. “They were excited that we were doing the parade and they wanted us to do it.”
Both Mann and Madison County Commissioner Jon Weber said there will be safety precautions enforced. Details on what that entails have not yet been released. The events are scheduled to happen after Gov. Brad Little’s staged reopening of Idaho, which ends June 26. However, state officials still stress social distancing protocols are necessary at large events until a vaccine is created.
“We’re not doing this out on a whim. We’ve put a lot of study into this in talking with community members, businesses and getting their suggestions on moving forward with the parade and the activities at the fairground,” Weber said. “It was pretty clear to us that the businesses and community members, in general, are very supportive of this.”
The Independence Day Celebration in the Park is canceled. The Main Street Mile, which is a family fun-run that usually takes place before the 4th of July Parade, is still up in the air.
More information is expected to be announced next week.
“We’re trying to be safe, be reasonable, accommodating, celebrate our great country and celebrate those businesses in Rexburg who have a message that they want to give out, and it’s a great way for them to do it,” Mann said. “And to give our young people a chance to participate in very treasured tradition in Rexburg.”