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Damboree canceled: July 4 celebration violates social distancing guidelines

Boulder City’s long-standing Fourth of July Damboree has been canceled, one of the latest casualties of COVID-19.

Parks and Recreation Director Roger Hall said the cancellation was a “tough decision,” but necessary because “health and safety are paramount to council, staff and the Damboree committee.”

The annual event is one of the largest in town and usually brings in thousands of people for the parade, festivities and fireworks. In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, current social distancing guidelines and state regulations do not allow that large of a group of people to gather.

“We currently are in Phase One, which limits the number of people to 10,” Hall said. “Phase Two would increase the number of people for special events to 50 or less. I really don’t see the governor (Steve Sisolak) allowing thousands of people to gather as we have done in the past.”

The Damboree’s festivities usually run all day, starting at 7 a.m. with a free pancake breakfast and going until fireworks in Veterans’ Memorial Park at 9 p.m., followed by music. There is also a parade at 9 a.m. and midway booths and games from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“There are 54 days left until July 4, 2020, and with the current restrictions imposed on cities by the governor, I don’t see the ability to approve large events such as the Fourth of July,” Hall said. “We are working with (City) Council and the Damboree committee to make sure all options are considered. … I truly appreciate all of the hard work from the Damboree committee … I think under the circumstances, we are making the right decision.”

Hall said the city may still be able to hold one of the events.

“We are still evaluating whether we want to shoot off the fireworks on the Fourth of July or roll the fireworks show over to next year,” he said. “We will be working with the fireworks company and a decision will be made in the near future.”

“There are a number of considerations underway between the Damboree committee, city staff and City Council, so modifications are possible,” added Communications Manager Lisa LaPlante. “There could be changes based on state guidance and public health direction. We, as a city, are fortunate to have only had fewer than 30 cases of coronavirus this year. We hope to continue that trend into July and August.”

This year’s Damboree would have been the 72nd annual event.

Contact reporter Celia Shortt Goodyear at cgoodyear@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow her on Twitter @csgoodyear.

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