Following a slew of canceled community events, the Blooming Prairie Chamber of Commerce announced Wednesday night that the annual Old Fashioned Fourth of July Celebration for 2020 has also been canceled.
Becky Noble, the chamber director, said that several things led to this decision, but that the cancelation of the Austin Fourth of July parade was the final drop in the bucket.
“We have a lot of the same people in their parade in ours,” Noble said. “Also, the Stix of Fury announced earlier that they would be doing no parades this year because they are unable to practice because of school, and we have two other bands and another drum line that are also unable to practice.”
The Blooming Prairie parade typically has more than 125 participating units.
Though the lack of marching bands and the cancelation of the Austin parade did contribute to the decision made by the chamber executive committee as well as the Blooming Prairie Fourth of July Committee, Noble said that the biggest factor was the sheer number of people that gather in the town for the day’s event.
“We are not talking about just the town of Blooming Prairie,” Noble said, noting that with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that the health of the public has to remain the top priority. “We have 20,000 people who come out for this. We just cannot have that this year.”
The official announcement was made via a Facebook post that stated the parade activities in the park that the festival usually hosts are effectively canceled. The post also announced that the city will still hold the fireworks display, but that it is unknown at this time if people will be allowed to sit in Victory Field to watch. Noble said that while she has been receiving some negative backlash on social media from people who do not believe the festival should be canceled, she is hopeful that will simply mean that the 2021 celebration will be that much bigger and better.
“I told them it sounds to me like we’re going to have a lot of volunteers next year and won’t be short of funding,” Noble said with a laugh. The proceeds collected during the Fourth of July event goes into keeping the chamber up and operational, according to Noble. She said that they will have to rely on fundraisers to keep the chamber doors open, but that it is hard to determine at this time what fundraising events they will still be able to host.
“We held off as long as we could to make that announcement because we know it is such a disappointment, you have to have something to look forward to,” Noble said. “I hope the fireworks will bring people some joy, especially because you can still watch them from your car.”
The Blooming Prairie Old Fashioned Fourth of July Celebration has been a tradition for the last 45 years and typically spans July 3 and 4.
Reach Reporter Annie Granlund at 507-444-2378 or follow her on Twitter @OPPAnnie. ©Copyright 2020 APG Media of Southern Minnesota.