The city has canceled its Canby Independence Day Celebration in July, as well as Canby’s Big Night Out Street Dance in August. The decision was announced in a press release Wednesday morning.
The Canby City Council had discussed the Independence Day Celebration at length last Wednesday, ultimately deciding to table it for another week. The Canby Fire District has already made the difficult decision to cancel its popular Fourth of July fireworks show — which was the one element of the annual celebration most likely to maintain the social distancing guidelines.
Though the writing was on the wall, the mayor and council’s decision was essentially made for them the following day, when Governor Kate Brown announced she would not be lifting her restrictions on large gatherings before October at the earliest, and probably not until an effective treatment or prevention is found for Covid-19.
This announcement also sealed the fate of the popular street dance, a smaller but growing event that has helped kick off Canby’s big weekend in recent years. The Independence Day Celebration drew 12,000 last year, the city said, while the Big Night Out Street Dance has seen attendance grow to approximately 3,000.
Interim City Administrator Amanda Zeiber said city staff had worked diligently to plan for this year’s events, until the governor’s revised orders came down last week.
“We need to focus on the overall health and wellbeing of our community and canceling our two main events is an unfortunate side effect of that order,” she said.
The city organizes the Canby Independence Day Celebration and Big Night Out each year as a way to encourage people to spend time and money in Canby.
Planning for these two events begins in early January and includes input from local businesses, community organizations, citizens, as well as Economic Development, Public Works and Parks staff.
“These two events, in addition to the countless others that occur every year, help to make Canby a very special destination place for so many people,” Mayor Brian Hodson said. “I am saddened the events are canceled and I look forward to when we can gather again.”
Zeiber said city staff members will work with the Canby Area Chamber of Commerce and the local business community to find “other creative ways to support” Canby businesses throughout the summer until larger events can be resumed.
Economic Development Director Jamie Stickel said she understands these events are near and dear to people’s hearts.
“They are certainly near and dear to mine,” she said. “I know Canby event organizers will come back even stronger for next year and the Canby community will rally behind those efforts.”
The City’s Economic Development has created the #LoveLocalCanby campaign to encourage citizens — and all who support Canby businesses — to patronize their favorite businesses.
The campaign highlights options to support businesses including ordering take out, shopping online, leaving reviews, sharing business social media posts and purchasing gift cards.