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LOCAL NEWS: Seaside cancels July 4th fireworks

LOCAL NEWS: Seaside cancels July 4th fireworks

The City of Seaside, Oregon, has canceled its annual Fourth of July fireworks display for this year. Money was an issue. So was the risk of having thousands of people crowded together on the beach during a pandemic. Joanne Rideout has more.

Chamber of Commerce CEO Brian Owen formally announced the cancellation at Monday’s city council meeting.

Brian Owen: “Working with all these organizations, and all these businesses, it’s become very clear that for our local economic climate, to the safety of our community as well as the unknown framework for when we’re going to relax some of the large scale gatherings, the fireworks show just doesn’t work for 2020.”

Owen said cost was a consideration, since the show relies on generous donations from the local business community, which has been hit hard by the pandemic. Such donors have paid for more than half of the costs of the fireworks display in past years.

The Fourth of July holiday falls on a Saturday this year, and would have featured a parade and other celebrations. These would likely draw large out-of-area crowds that would make social distancing difficult, if not impossible. At the city council meeting, Mayor Jay Barber estimated that the city could end up with 75,000 people on the beach, especially in light of the cancellation of other big 4th of July celebrations around the region, in cities such as Vancouver, Washington.

Seaside will take a financial hit because of the cancellation. Fourth of July celebrations bring in an annual $20 million for this event alone, and the holiday is considered the official kickoff to what would be, in normal years, a busy summer season. I’m Joanne Rideout in Astoria.