Danville's annual Fourth of July parade has been called off this year, according to the event organizers, who said they have been forced to do so after the town government failed to give them permission to proceed with the necessary time to finish all preparations.
Responsible for organizing the parade for the past 45 years, the Kiwanis Club of the San Ramon Valley said on Monday that it will be canceling the event in 2021 after the town was unable to approve the club's request to proceed with the parade due to county health restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic.
"Kiwanis made the difficult decision to cancel the parade, which would have been our 46th Annual Kiwanis 4th of July Parade in Danville," John Lineweaver, president of the SRV Kiwanis Foundation and the Kiwanis Club of the San Ramon Valley, told DanvilleSanRamon.
"We are very disappointed in having been forced to make this decision, as the town of Danville will not issue a permit for the parade due to COVID restrictions," Lineweaver added.
After reaching out to the town to begin organizing the parade, Kiwanis members said they were told that Danville officials had not yet received clearance from the Contra Costa County allowing them to approve the annual parade.
"The Town of Danville is currently unable to accept community event applications until the Contra Costa County Health Department authorizes large public gatherings, at which point the Town will revisit the Community Events Program," Kiwanis member Nick Gant said the town told the group, verbatim.
Town officials told DanvilleSanRamon on Monday that they are unable to approve the parade at this point due to uncertainty from state and county health officials, who have yet to release recommendations on how large community events can be safely conducted.
"We are waiting the same as everybody else for the county, everybody has a June 15th date (for community events)," Danville's public information officer Nicola Shihab said. "I think our issues are that even once we reach that date, even when we can release those permits there's going to probably be additional things that the event organizers are going to have to do like checking vaccines (and) capacity limits … that we just haven't been told yet by the county or state"
"These things typically take months of planning and organizing to achieve so, even though June 15 may seem doable, the amount the time that these things take, it just leaves very little time when you don't know what the recommendations from the county or the state are going to be," she added.
One of the San Ramon Valley's largest annual events, prior to the start of the pandemic the Kiwanis 4th of July Parade was well known for attracting more than 30,000 spectators and participants to downtown Danville.
Last year's parade adapted to the ongoing pandemic by switching to a virtual experience that continued the town honored tradition in a social distancing conscious and safe manner. This year, however, Kiwanis officials confirmed that they will not be hosting a virtual celebration.
"We truly regret not being able to conduct a Live Parade in 2021.This breaks our 45-year tradition of organizing and conducting the Kiwanis 4th of July Parade in Danville. We hope to see you LIVE in 2022," Gant said in a statement.
Lineweaver added that historically the parade was a necessary part for funding the club's annual Grants Program, which benefits 30 to 40 local nonprofits annually. The 2021 program will still be funded thanks to the club's financial reserves.
"Fortunately, we have a reserve fund so that we were able to fund grants in 2021," Lineweaver said. "And will be able to do so again in 2022, when we hope and expect to bring back a live parade."