Two-Day Festival on Town Hall campus to be cancelled for 2020
Throughout the year, the Town of Irondequoit is proud to host many large community events that bring people together and provide family-friendly enjoyment, often free of charge. It is part of one of the many attributes of living in Irondequoit, and something that helps provide our Town with its identity.
Our annual two-day Independence Day celebration is our largest such community event, bringing tens of thousands of residents and visitors to the Town Hall campus every year. By attendance, it is one of the largest of such festivals in New York State.
During any normal year, we are always mindful of the challenges that arise by attracting so many people to one public place. This year, however, is the first we have ever had to consider managing the spread of a communicable disease. And for that reason, we have made the unfortunate decision to cancel the two-day Independence Day festival on the grounds of Town Hall, which normally take place on July 3rd and July 4th.
At this point in time, the following are on hold until 2021:
We have yet to make a decision on the annual Parade on July 4th, but remain in constant contact with the County Department of Health and other area Towns. We have begun reaching out to annual parade participants to gauge interest in marching. Even if there is enough interest to warrant a parade, we won’t do anything that is at odds with Federal, State or county guidelines regarding large events. I expect a final decision on the parade to be made in the next 2 weeks.
One American tradition we would like to continue this year is our annual July 4th Fireworks Display. However, I am mindful that tens of thousands of people gather on and around the Town Hall campus to enjoy the display. Simply put: that will not happen this year. We are, however, looking at possible alternative locations that might provide for more social distancing in viewing fireworks and will continue to update the community.
I will add that we continue to stay in touch with other local officials to discuss topics like this, and many others. Twice a week, the Town Supervisors speak on a conference call. Just as the Governor has embraced the need for interstate coordination, Town Supervisors seem to agree that local coordination is vital.
Our decision to hold a parade or have fireworks will be impacted on what other Towns are and are not planning on doing this year. Certainly, if Irondequoit was the only locality to have a parade in 2020, it might impact attendance, which would run counter to the social distancing objectives to which we will certainly be adhering for the next several months.
In closing, these decisions are not being made through the lens of public finance, but rather, public health. Nonetheless, the Independence Day Festival is a considerable expense to the Town, especially with an apparent reduction in sponsorship this year. As the COVID19 outbreak continues to negatively impact our revenue situation, Irondequoit, like all other municipalities will have to look to find efficiencies in our current fiscal year budget, and beyond.