Gearhart’s annual fireman’s ball is another casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic in Clatsop County. The fundraiser, in its 59th year, is highlighted by gaming, live music and dancing.
The ball raises funds for necessary equipment for the fire department, City Administrator Chad Sweet said.
“Unfortunately we made the call to go ahead and cancel the fireman’s ball for this year,” Sweet said at Wednesday’s Gearhart City Council meeting.
Firefighters were “pretty bummed” about not being able to put it on, he said. “We’re going to miss seeing all the people there, the gambling and the fun, but we’ll be back hopefully next year and move forward.”
Between donations, clothing sales, the actual fundraiser and Gearhart Golf Links Tournament generate between $17,000 to $20,000, Fire Chief Bill Eddy said.
This year, donations will support a water rescue program, replace aging equipment and enhance firefighter training, he added.
Another iconic Gearhart event, the annual Fourth of July parade, faces an uncertain status.
There’s “definitely a possibility” that the Fourth of July parade could be canceled, Mayor Matt Brown said.
Last year's parade was the largest to date.
“I think it might be a little premature right now, but it’s something we would consider in the next few weeks as things progress,” Brown said. “Please stay tuned.”
While parking at entrances is limited, residents are permitted to walk Gearhart’s beaches.
Gearhart’s 10th Avenue beach approach remains closed to vehicles.
Brown said he expects a “major influx” of visitors to Gearhart for razor clamming, especially with favorable tides and good weather. The county will monitor the situation, and if necessary, could close the beach.
“They may make a decision to close it a day or two in,” Brown said.
“We’re no way out of the woods yet,” resident Bebe Michel said during public comment. “The closure is very effective. I am in support of keeping the city restricted. The beaches are really busy during the height of the clamming and it’s a real problem in my mind because people aren’t quite doing the social distancing that they need to.”