For the second year in a row, the skies over historic Fort Vancouver will stay dark and quiet on America’s birthday.
The Historic Trust, which usually teams up with the National Park Service and the city of Vancouver to put on an annual Vancouver Fireworks Spectacular on July 4, has announced that this year’s festivities have been canceled. That’s due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, of course.
“It is with heavy hearts we cancel the 2021 celebration,” said David Pearson, president and CEO of The Historic Trust. “We know firsthand what this community tradition means to our region.”
An average of 20,000 people usually turn out for the Independence Day fireworks at the fort, Pearson said.
But, in order for the 2021 celebration to go forward, the Trust had to let its fireworks vendor know of its plan by the end of last month. But national health experts don’t expect health conditions for large public gatherings to improve enough any earlier than fall of 2021, making the decision to cancel “one of necessity and safety,” according to a statement released Tuesday by The Historic Trust.
“We are very disappointed, but safety comes first,” Pearson said on Tuesday. “We had some optimism for a while. Then there was another reality check, come January. Following all the health experts and state guidelines, we’re not going to be able to do this.”
The cancellation marks only the third time since 2004 that the event has not been held. Last year’s cancellation was also due to the pandemic; in 2009, organizational restructuring got in the way.
“We know this event is very important to members of our community, and this was a difficult decision,” Pearson said. “The Trust and its community partners will look toward planning for the event in 2022. That’s the best we can do.”
The Historic Trust is a nonprofit organization that owns and manages historic Vancouver properties, including Providence Academy, and provides historical and cultural programming — most of which, like last summer’s educational “Chautauqua” series, has been curtailed by the pandemic.