COVID-19 has dealt another blow to a Clark County favorite: For the first time since its debut in 1964, the Hazel Dell Parade of Bands is canceled.
The announcement comes on the heels of The Historic Trust canceling its Fourth of July show at Fort Vancouver National Site.
“The parade is an annual showcase of community spirit,” Brad Lothspeich, parade co-chair, said in a statement. “But with more than two dozen school marching bands, and upwards of 150 entries, it became obvious that we couldn’t simply postpone the event. We’re all incredibly disappointed, but we know it is the right thing to do.”
The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 has killed more than 420 people in Washington and 14 in Clark County. Gov. Jay Inslee issued a stay-at-home order until May 4, but he didn’t rule out extending it.
School buildings are closed for the remainder of the academic year, and students have switched to distance learning.
The Parade of Bands is presented by the Hazel Dell/Salmon Creek Business Association. This year’s theme, “Visions of the Future,” was set to celebrate local youth, with three grand marshals: Keoni Ching of Ben Franklin Elementary School, Alex Miller of Columbia River High School and Lili Boyer-Quick of Skyview High School.
Organizers said there are “an unbelievable number of moving pieces to plan, promote and produce the parade,” including coordinating with school bands, Public Works, the Clark County Sheriff’s Office and local businesses.
“The most important part of this decision was knowing that the parade brings 20,000 participants and spectators together, and we needed to be cognizant of the safety of our community with the current uncertainties around the coronavirus,” Tony Ruestig, president of the Hazel Dell/Salmon Creek Business Association, said in the statement.
The 2021 Hazel Dell Parade of Bands is scheduled for May 15.