LIMA — One of the area’s biggest events of the year has become a casualty of the coronavirus pandemic as the Star Spangled Spectacular committee announced Wednesday morning that this year’s event has been canceled.
The plan at the beginning of the month was to hold the 27th annual celebration with all attractions canceled except the fireworks show. The hope was that it could still be enjoyed from a distance, but ultimately the crowd size the show typically draws became too much of a threat.
“It really is a quintessential event that people look forward to — everything from over 1,000 people showing up for the walk and race in the morning to the estimated 20-to-30,000 people that come and view the fireworks,” explained Howard Elstro, Lima’s public works director. “It became very obvious to us that the best and most responsible course for the 2020 event is to cancel it with the directives taken into account that there are still restrictions on mass gatherings … We understand people were looking forward to it, but I think everyone will understand it’s just not appropriate to do this year.”
Elstro said the committee has already shifted its focus to next year’s event.
“I want to assure the community that the Star Spangled Spectacular committee has already been anticipating the 2021 event, and we hope to bring back a community-wide celebration for our independence in our nation bigger and better next year,” he said. “There’s probably about 30 different entities throughout Lima that make contributions of all sizes and kinds. The major vendors are prepared to proceed in planning and hopefully holding it in 2021.”
Back in 2015, the event had to be postponed to Labor Day weekend, after heavy rains forces rescheduling Lima’s annual patriotic celebration.
In the meantime, Elstro said he fully expects people will find ways to still celebrate Independence Day.
“As we have found ways to deal with this virus thus far, I’m confident families and friends will find ways to celebrate the birth of our nation and its independence in a safe way,” he said. “We’ll just have to find ways to celebrate a little more quietly and a little more safely.”
Reach Tara Jones at 567-242-0511.