The summer of 2022 is just around the corner, and Canby is coming back with a bang.
After a (sort of) quiet two years in which official observances were canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, officials confirm Canby’s signature Independence Day Celebration will return this year with a parade and the traditional fireworks show at Trost Elementary.
“Yes, the fireworks display will happen,” Fire Chief Jim Davis told the Current with a chuckle. “We’ve already submitted the down payment to Western Fireworks.”
The city-sponsored Independence Day event will be held Monday, July 4, at Wait Park and also feature the traditional car show, street fair with food and beverage merchants, arts and craft retailers, family-friendly beer garden and live music.
The event drew record crowds — an estimated 12,000 attendees — in 2019, and city officials are expecting this year’s edition to attract even more.
“After what has been a challenging two years for our community, I can’t think of a better way to bring people back together than at one of our most cherished events,” Mayor Brian Hodson said. “I am sure we will have a record turnout, and I look forward to seeing everyone there.”
Western Display Fireworks, a Canby-based company that has long partnered with Canby Fire to put on the annual aerial display, donates about a quarter of the cost of the $20,000 show and provides the licensed technicians to ensure the pyrotechnics are done safely and sanely.
“It’s going to be a great show,” Davis said. “Western always does a great job, and we do encourage folks to join in the safe and sane fireworks displays done by licensed professionals. That’s the safest way to enjoy fireworks.”
That hasn’t been an option the past two years, as the state’s strict pandemic restrictions dampened enthusiasm for large gatherings and made planning for them difficult or impossible.
An additional wrinkle came in the run-up to last year’s Independence Day, as historically sweltering temperatures in June turned the region into a tinderbox before the first days of summer.
Fortunately, fire officials feel an encore is unlikely this year.
“The forecast is for another dry season,” he admitted, “but it shouldn’t be anything that would cause us to think about canceling the display. The only conditions we would worry about would be an extreme east wind and red flag conditions, and that would be a last-minute-decision type of thing.”
A scaled-back celebration occurred in and around Wait Park in conjunction with the Canby Farmers Market in 2021 and drew thousands to the downtown core, but it went off without the parade or other traditional accouterments.
The uncertainty of the past two years, along with rising inflation, has made money a potential issue this year.
Canby Fire raises money for the effort each year through its Volunteer Firefighter Association, and while organizers had saved enough to cover the cost of this year’s show — the dollars are not going as far as they once did.
“The cost of fireworks from China has drastically increased this year,” Davis explained. “And U.S.-made fireworks are just as expensive. So, although that is a good option, it doesn’t bring any savings.”
Canby Fire is accepting donations to help ensure the money will be there to pay for next year’s show. Those can be made in person at the main headquarters on South Pine Street or online through GoFundMe.
Some donations have already come in for 2023, including a check for $2,500 from NW Employment Solutions, a Canby agency that made the unexpected contribution after a presentation Davis gave at a local civic event.
The display locations will be the same as in years past. Township Road will be closed from Redwood to the pedestrian overpass. Folks looking for a front-row seat can bring blankets and camp chairs to the sidewalk across the street from Trost or on the fields at Baker Prairie Middle School.
The fields at Ackerman are also a good option, Davis added. Canby Police will be coordinating area traffic.
After looking at the expected conditions for this year as well as the Covid outlook, Davis said it was really no question as to bringing back the fireworks display for 2022.
“People are ready,” he said. “It’s exciting. We are super excited to be back.”
For more information about Canby’s Independence Day Celebration and how you can get involved, contact Tyler Nizer at NizerT@CanbyOregon.gov. The city will hold a kickoff meeting to plan for the event at 10 a.m. Wednesday, April 6, at City Hall.
For further information, you can also visit canbyindependenceday.com.
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