Bishop and Bridgeport still plan on 4th of July fireworks. Mammoth has canceled
Last week the Town of Mammoth Lakes (TOML) officially cancelled most of its Fourth of July festivities. This means no parade, fireworks, Pops in the Park, the Footloose Freedom Mile, the MAC Arts Festival in the Footloose parking lot or any gathering of more than 50 people.
“There are too many significant unknowns,” said Stuart Brown, the Town’s Parks and Recreation Director wrote in an email to the Sheet, “The Town is 100% supportive of Covid- friendly events this summer, particularly the Fourth of July but it will be a daunting challenge to keep our community and visitors safe with the many mitigation measures.”
TOML Town Manager Dan Holler explained the decision to cancel thsi way. “Rather than impose a large number of restrictions that we would not be able to manage without substantial staffing and less than enjoyable interactions with the public, the decision was made to cancel the fireworks. Difficult, but to cancel closer to the event would also upset people who, if allowed to travel, would be counting on the fireworks as part of their vacation and to not have them would be disappointing.”
The Sheet also reached out to Bishop and Bridgeport to see how stay-at-home orders have affected the planning process for their 4th of July celebrations.
“We are still planning on having it. Hopefully we can have it but we are currently still planning ours,” said Linda Pemberton, a member of both the Bridgeport Chamber of Commerce and Fourth of July Planning Committee.
The Fourth of July celebration in Bridgeport is one of the Town’s biggest annual gatherings.
“This little Town depends on the Fourth of July celebration. It brings in about 6,000-8,000 people a year,” said Pemberton, acknowledging that this year’s celebration will be different.
Traditionally there are vendors all the way down Main Street. This will not be happening this year. Pemberton noted, “We are going to have dispersed events all around town instead of in one place.”
Regarding Mammoth’s decision, Pemberton simply noted, “Seemed kinda early,” and left it at that.
Chris Costello, a member of Bishop Town Council and the Bishop volunteer fire department, has a similar mindset to his neighbors in Bridgeport.
The Bishop Chamber of Commerce puts on most of the festivities but the volunteer fire department handles the fireworks.
“We [the Fire Department] had a meeting on Tuesday [May 5] and we are pushing ahead to try and make that happen,” said Costello, “We don’t know what it will look like but we are preparing to have fireworks.”
Costello mentioned that the main hurdle that needs to be overcome is where to host the fireworks display. The State is currently not allowing it to happen at the fairgrounds. The airport is not a viable option as construction improvements are scheduled through July. The city park is an option as well as a drive-in movie type of fireworks display. But despite discussion, nothing concrete has been put in place.
These things can be resolved, “If we are going to adhere to social distancing we might just have to make the fireworks go high enough so everyone can see them,” said Costello.
*Note: Where I am from (Bend, Oregon), the fireworks are set off on a butte in the middle of the Town and everyone watches from their homes. -ZH
“We want it to happen. With everything that is unknown it is hard to say it will, but we are planning it as if it is happening,” said Costello.
Tawni Thompson, Director of the Bishop Chamber of Commerce, told The Sheet, “The City of Bishop appears to be going forward with plans in hopes there will be a celebration.”
Thompson mentioned that the Chamber does not put on any festivities; it is simply a part of the planning process and promote the event to the community.
During these meetings between representatives from all over Bishop, the committee is pushing forward until someone higher up the totem pole shuts it down.
Both Bridgeport and Bishop representatives acknowledged that this could happen. All of the current plans could be halted at a moment’s notice.
Mammoth chose not to wait for a ‘no’ answer.