BY PAUL ROBERTS, CITY ATTORNEY
Question: Why did the city cancel Heritage Days so far in advance instead of waiting to see how the pandemic was in June?
Answer: Our Parks and Recreation Department loves Heritage Days, as do our elected officials and citizens. The decision to convert Heritage Days to virtual events was heart-wrenching!
The answer involves two complicating factors: (1) logistics, and (2) a mass-gathering permit. Logistically, the decision of whether to move forward with Heritage Days is made long before the canopies rise. Contracts with vendors, musicians, carnival operators, and other providers must be acquired. In late April, the city anticipated that large gatherings very likely would not be permitted in late June. As such, we did not enter into those contracts.
On the subject of mass gatherings, the city is required to apply for a county permit to hold Heritage Days far in advance of the activity. Due to the pandemic, the county was not issuing those permits.
Fireworks were also cancelled due to limited visibility for most citizens and the likelihood that mass gatherings would occur when they were displayed.
Most (if not all) nearby cities have cancelled their summer festivals, as well.
We are looking forward to a memorable Heritage Days next year!
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