The Bogue Flatts will once again be the sight of the annual 4th of July fireworks display…IF… they occur at all.
Traditionally the annual 4th of July parade and fireworks have been hosted by the Portland Chamber of Commerce. Then late last year the Chamber ceased to exist, leaving in doubt how these events would take place in the future. It was unlikely that a 2020 parade would take place unless another organization assumed that responsibility. But, to date no organization has stepped forward to host the parade. However, the Chamber had already purchased fireworks for 2020 and the City of Portland has been exploring how it might organize and facilitate the fireworks. The decision ultimately rests with the City Council to approve the required permits. The Council will take the issue up at its next regularly scheduled meeting on Monday night, June 15th.
City Manager, Tutt Gorman, told the Beacon this morning, “I have been working closely with our attorneys and emergency services on this issue and I hope to have a recommendation for Council at the next meeting. Now more than ever, our residents desire some form of normalcy and to resume our traditions. The City recognizes that gathering to celebrate the founding of our Nation is core to our identity and deeply rooted in our way of life.”
Making the decision more complex is social distancing issues including how to have an event with more than 100 people. Since it's outside and people will be able to make reasonable accommodations for social distancing the fireworks might be logistically possible.
Gorman cautioned, “There’s just so many variables we must consider, beyond the permit itself. Even if approved on the 15th, I still have to work with the Portland Police Department and Emergency Services for staffing issues. We are working diligently to see if we can make it happen, but a final decision has not yet been made.”