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Kalispell, Bigfork 4th of July parades canceled

Butte Health Department halts Fourth of July parade, fireworks due to coronavirus
Posted at 2:10 PM, Jun 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-02 21:10:26-04

COVID-19 concerns have prompted officials to call off a pair of summer events.

The Kalispell Chamber of Commerce and the Bigfork Area Chamber of Commerce have each called off their 4th of July parades which annually draw thousands of spectators.

“With the current phased reopening parameters, the annual Kalispell Fourth of July Parade unfortunately won’t be possible this year, taking into consideration social distancing requirements for the number of spectators, entries, and volunteers,” said Kalispell Chamber of Commerce President Joe Unterreiner.

The second phase of Gov. Bullock’s Reopening the Big Sky phased plan -- which started June 1 -- allows for social gatherings of up to 50 people, still taking into consideration social distancing measures.

Each parade additionally requires a public-facing planning phase of approximately 30 days, and while organized groups of more than 50 people will be permitted in later phases of reopening, “there is no guarantee of the state being in a position for those larger events by the beginning of July,” according to a news release.

“The decision to cancel is unfortunate. The Fourth of July Parade is a longstanding tradition for families, friends and visitors in Bigfork and we share in your disappointment. Ultimately, it is the health and safety of our community that is most important this year,” said Bigfork Area Chamber of Commerce executive director Rebekah King.

Both organizations say they “are looking forward to the return of these iconic events in the future.”