By Briana Alzola
The city’s traditional annual Fourth of July celebration has joined a growing list of canceled summer events in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and following guidance from Skagit County Public Health.
The town photo, parade and patriotic program are canceled, and the city is postponing its community fireworks display until it is safe for larger groups to gather, “hopefully later in the summer,” according to a statement Tuesday from the Mayor’s Office.
“Our priority is community health and the well-being of all Anacortes residents,” Mayor Laurie Gere said in a statement. “It is very regrettable that we have to make this decision. Together we will find new ways to celebrate our nation’s independence this Fourth of July.”
Fireworks are banned within city limits.
Other canceled events include the Kids Fishing Event (scheduled for June 6), Bark in the Park (scheduled for June 20), Kids-R-Best Fest (scheduled for July 11) and the Art Dash (scheduled for Aug. 1).
“The City of Anacortes Parks and Recreation Department is evaluating the remainder of our summer programs to find ways to adapt or postpone our recreation programs,” according to a city statement. “The City’s priority is public health and we
we believe that physical health is an important component of public health. If possible we will provide programming in a socially distanced or virtual capacity.”
The pet food drive that normally accompanies Bark in the Park will go on in a social distancing-friendly way, according to the city. Staff is also looking at ways to offer a “virtual run” for the Art Dash, where participants could run their own course and log their own time and still be part of the bigger event.
“We are all adapting to the quickly evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic and reacting to the recommendations to cancel some of our communities’ most beloved summer events,” according to the statement. “The City has determined that the threat that large-scale events pose to the health of the community is too great. The City will continue to work on innovative alternatives to these events so we can connect even when we are apart.”