2020 Spirit of America Celebration Cancelled
For only the second time in its sixteenth year history, the Spirit of America, Independence Day Celebration has been cancelled. City Officials made the decision to cancel the event due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The cancellation follows weeks of discussion and deliberation. The decision was made in the best interest of the community, as well as the visitors who attend the celebration due to public health concerns.
“This was a very difficult decision, but one that was made in the best interest of our entire community,” says David Ridpath, Radford’s City Manager. “Many different solutions for the event were considered, but with the uncertainty of COVID-19, we feel as though cancelling the event is the best option for the health and safety of our community, visitors, and staff.”
The Spirit of America Celebration began in 2005 and it attracts an estimated 10,000-12,000 attendees to Radford each year. The event has been headlined by singer/songwriter Jimmy Fortune for years and features children’s games, vendors, and fair food. The event concludes with a Firework Show sponsored by Third Security.
The City of Radford will still host a fireworks show at dusk on Independence Day. Details on the show will be released at a later date.
“When you have done this as many years as we have, you think you have seen it all,” says Ken. Goodyear, Parks and Recreation Director. “The event takes months planning and although we are extremely disappointed, the risks associated with staging an event of this magnitude, at this particular time, are simply too great.”
“We are thrilled that the City of Radford will have the opportunity to enjoy the best Fireworks display in the region to celebrate Independence Day! While we love our traditional celebrations in the City, the mass gathering in Bisset Park is not possible this year due to health concerns. We will be back in full force in 2021.
We are relying on all our residents and guests to help us make the Fireworks display safe by abiding by all the good practices for good health. Social Distancing is important as we celebrate our Nation’s Birthday,” said Mayor David Horton.
Radford officials have been monitoring Governor Ralph Northam’s guidelines for reopening the state and consulting with local and state health officials for weeks. In the end, the inability to guarantee the safety of all involved made cancelling the most logical option.
“The safety of our citizens, visitors, and staff is the utmost priority and there are just too many things out of our control to create a safe environment for all those involved, whether working or attending the event, this summer,” says Ridpath. “We will now focus on 2021 and work to bring the Spirit of America event back next year, bigger and better than ever.”