Belmond’s July 4 celebration will look much different in 2020 thanks to the Covid-19 crisis. The city council voted June 1 to allow only the annual fireworks display. All other events have been cancelled.
Members of the council discussed the annual event for a long time with July 4 Chairman Todd Buseman by way of a video conference.
“Not all events will be possible,” said Buseman. “We can’t have a sit down meal. You could try to stretch out the parade route so people wouldn’t sit so close together, but that causes all sorts of traffic problems. There’s no way to have the kids’ activities in Swimming Pool Park. And I don’t think we can go around town asking businesses for raffle prizes when many of them have been closed or working at half of normal.”
City Manager Darrel Steven Carlyle expressed his concern about paying for the fireworks display if there isn’t a dinner and a raffle to raise money.
“We are already way ahead of last year when it comes to collecting pop cans,” Buseman said. “I think people will keep donating cans if they know we need the money. And I’m going to make a special effort to contact businesses that haven’t been affected by Covid-19 to ask for donations. I think I can make it work. Besides, we already bought the fireworks.”
The council discussed having a parade using a longer route. But mayor and retired police chief Frank Beminio didn’t think much of that idea. “People are all bunched up, five and six deep. They aren’t going to move. And we don’t have enough police officers to go around and ask them to move.”
“And I worry that our crowds will be larger since Clear Lake has cancelled their July 4,” said City Manger Carlyle. “More people will be hard to control.”
Activities that won’t go on as normal include the July 3 kiddie parade and the 5K run/walk, the annual raffle, the July 4 parade, the noon meal, the afternoon park activities, the pie and ice cream social, the grandstand show, and the firemen’s omelet breakfast on July 5.
For now, folks in Belmond will have to be happy with just backyard barbecues and fireworks on July 4, 2020.