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Florence 4th of July a No-Go But Possibly Postponed | Central Oregon Coast

Published 05/21/21 at 5:55 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Florence 4th of July a No-Go But Possibly Postponed | Central Oregon Coast

(Florence, Oregon) – COVID restrictions are like a moving puzzle right now around Oregon and on the coastline, and tourism officials are struggling to keep up while still keeping their communities safe. Big events are particularly in the crosshairs, and Florence's Fourth of July celebration is one that has just been shot down.

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Or at least they think so, said Bettina Hannigan, president and CEO of the Florence Area Chamber of Commerce. There is hope; there is some wiggle room.

“Based on the most current pandemic-related guidelines from Governor Kate Brown, and the need to plan far ahead for big events like our annual Old Fashioned Fourth of July Celebration, we are unable to produce our fireworks show and its associated events,” said Hannigan. “Thankfully, our contracts with the fireworks technicians, and the Port of Siuslaw for the launch site, are in place for next year.”

However, there's an odd glimmer of hope in this. Fourth of July could get...well….moved to another date.

“But due to the gracious flexibility of these and other partners, we may - and I emphasize ‘may' - be able to reschedule them later this year,” she said.

Since March of 2020, chambers of commerce and other organizations locally and across the state have taken major economic hits from canceling annual community events. Some are even canceling events through the end of this year.

“We waited as long as we could to make this decision in hopes of hosting this fun day of traditional family events and fireworks,” Hannigan said. “But given the timeline to put this event together - with the producers of the pie- and watermelon-eating contests and the providers of the bounce houses, music, and fireworks - there is no way to plan for it with total certainty.”

Hannigan said they are in a unique holding pattern of having to wait and see what happens next with restrictions, and then moving into the new territory of re-planning fireworks and other related large-scale events to a new weekend.

It's not the only major event the Oregon coast town is re-examining.

“And we are doing all we can to save this year's Wine and Chowder Trails held on Columbus Day weekend,” she said. “Stay tuned.”

Hannigan said that even though many restrictions have been and are continuing to be lifted on mask-wearing and social gatherings, the chamber must put the health of the community and of visitors first. That means being vigilant in adhering to best practices today and having to assume there will be little change in the near future, “…but we are planning optimistically.”

According to Hannigan, around 1900 of the 4600 people employed in Florence rely on tourism-based employment, and tourism pumps about $147 million into Florence's economy each year. The average overnight visitor spends more than $150 per day while in town.

“The Florence Area Chamber of Commerce continues to work hard for member businesses and the community to continue promoting and advancing the cause of commerce and doing all we can to make Florence the best place to live, work, shop, eat, play, and stay - now, and as the crisis eventually passes,” Hannigan said. MORE PHOTOS BELOW

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Below: courtesy Florence Chamber of Commerce

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