LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — The city of Lafayette announced Wednesday the cancellation of the 2020 Stars and Stripes Firework Celebration. According to a released statement, the decision was made due to the size and impact of the downtown celebration and the uncertainty of the virus in the upcoming months.
"After careful consideration and consultations with the Tippecanoe County Health Department, Mayors of both cities, and the County Commissioners, we feel it is in the best interest of the citizens and the community to cancel the event for this year," states Cindy Murray, Coordinator of the July 4th event. "The cancellation of the activities is extremely unfortunate, but it is the right decision considering the circumstances our world and community is facing with COVID-19."
Murray made the annoucement at the weekly press update with the Tippecanoe County Health Department and other local leaders. County Health Officer Dr. Jeremy Adler and representatives from both local hospitals talked about how much positive progress the community has made in stifiling the spread of COVID-19.
"We've done so well and we've been so vigilant and I would just feel terrible that our community went backwards and our numbers spiked and more people were ill," said Murray at the press conference.
Last year, thousands of people decended on Riehle Plaza, the pedestrian bridge and Tapawingo Park for the celebration and to watch the fireworks. Murray said the Lafayette Citizen's Band had told them that they would not be playing this year, and she figured that was a sign of the direction they should go.
"It's just too tempting for folks not to gather at Riehle Plaza, it's been such a tradition for all these years," she said. "Being able to social distance down at Riehle Plaza is just not going to be able to happen."
Both Mayors Tony Roswarski and John Dennis and County Commissioner Tracey Brown stand behind the decision. Mayor Roswarski said it is better to cancel now than to wait until the week before when things have already been planned out and payed for.