Local Groups Revive Plans for Independence Day Celebration at Wait Park

In the wake of the city’s announcement that it would not be organizing the annual Canby Independence Day Celebration for the second year in a row, citing coronavirus restrictions and a lack of planning time, civic groups including the Canby Farmers Market, Canby Area Chamber of Commerce and local businesses are planning a July Fourth celebration and car show centered on Wait Park.

Call it an independent Independence Day — though city officials such as Economic Development and Tourism Coordinator Calvin LeSueur are assisting in the plans.

“The city has been a great cheerleader of our efforts, and we understand the difficult position they were in that forced them to cancel their traditional event,” Canby Chamber Director Kyle Lang said.

Much of the details are still being finalized, organizers confirm there will be live music, a car show and other activities in and around Wait Park, coinciding with the Canby Farmers Market’s special Sunday market for the holiday.

“The Canby Farmer’s Market is a fantastic and capable partner in this entire endeavor,” Lang said.

Farmers Market Organizer Alexis Purcell “has worked so hard to build this market,” he added, “and has provided a safe and welcome outlet for so many Canby residents throughout the pandemic that we are grateful to partner with her and we thank her for her graciousness.”

The market is typically staged on North Holly Street between 2nd and 4th; organizers for this event plan to request additional street closures on 3rd Avenue and North Grant between 2nd and 4th, forming an “H.”

The car show is planned for 3rd and North Grant streets from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, July 4. No entry fee is required. RSVP by June 25 to the chamber by calling 503-266-4600 or email chamber@canbyareachamber.org.

Longtime local musician and Canby Music store owner Brian Haines and his team plan to provide live entertainment at the event — free of charge. Other businesses who are helping coordinate and plan the event include Ellison Team Homes, Vanessa Zimmerman at Academy Mortgage and The Canby Current.

The Book Nook on North Grant Street will offer a sidewalk sale that day, while neighboring Ebner’s Custom Meats will have their barbecue pit fired up in true Fourth of July fashion.

“Local businesses have been at the center of activity throughout the pandemic, as they are more limber and able to react to changing dynamics, so it just made sense that local businesses and such would be the ones to step to the plate to help create a Fourth of July event in 2021,” Lang explained.

Organizers hope that vaccination rates continue to rise, dropping Clackamas County to lower risk levels — or even removing the risk matrix entirely by July.

At any rate, with more than 65% of Oregonian adults already having received at least one dose of vaccine, organizers of this event “felt it would be safe and responsible to provide an outdoor, daytime event to celebrate our Independence Day,” he said.

“We look forward to the end of summer when we believe the city will be able to engage in Canby’s Big Weekend and restart their programming in earnest,” Lang said. “We truly see the city as a partner and ally in supporting our community’s need for social outlets around the holiday.”

Formerly known as General Canby Days, the popular event was run by local volunteers from 1982 until 2015, when the nonprofit committee sponsoring the event broke down.

The city took the event over five years ago, rechristening it Canby’s Independence Day Celebration. Before the pandemic, the annual parade and celebration was one of the most well-attended events in the Canby area — drawing record crowds of more than 10,000 in 2019.

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