The Fourth of July fireworks show in Seaside is canceled because of concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.
“I am here to officially cancel the 2020 fireworks show,” Seaside Chamber of Commerce CEO Brian Owen told the City Council at Monday's meeting. “It has become very clear in our current economic climate, for the safety of our community, as well as the unknown framework of when we’re going to relax some of the large-scale gatherings, the fireworks show just doesn’t work for 2020.”
The show typically brings nearly 50,000 people to Seaside, and is the kickoff to the summer season with visitors coming from throughout the Northwest.
This year’s celebration fell on a Saturday evening, drawing concern that it could bring record numbers. With cancellation of the 57th annual Fort Vancouver fireworks show, officials feared crowds could overwhelm Seaside. “If we're the only one going, we could have 75,000 people at the beach,” Mayor Jay Barber said.
Officials estimate an annual economic impact to the city of more than $20 million.
Owen said he worked with the city to make the decision to cancel.
“It’s a good decision, but a difficult one,” Barber said.
Along with fireworks, the city hosts an annual Independence Day parade, drum and bugle corps and an old-fashioned social at the Seaside Museum & Historical Society.
Discussions are ongoing on how the daytime celebrations will be treated, Assistant City Manager Jon Rahl said.
The city’s visitors bureau has regularly provided $20,000 to $25,000 in tourism grant dollars to the chamber to fund the fireworks.
But the remaining cost — estimated at $50,000 — is provided by local businesses and community donors for pyrotechnics, security, setup, port-a-potties and more.
“Every single year businesses show up and they’re there,” Owen said.
Seaside businesses are worried about their employees during the coronavirus, Owen said. “That’s the No. 1 thing I’m hearing — the health of their employees.”
“That really saddens my heart, because it’s one of my favorite events of the year,” Owen said. “Not only is it our Independence Day, it’s a community day. We get to see all our family and friends. We get to highlight the Seaside community from morning till night.”