MCCALL, Idaho — The McCall Area Chamber of Commerce and the City of McCall announced that Fourth of July celebration plans for the popular mountain destination will not include fireworks this year due to crowd health and safety concerns. Instead, the community is planning several new and safe events that include a drive-in concert with local favorite Jeff Crosby, drive-in movies, a patriotic boat brigade, a light-up caravan, and more for the holiday weekend.
"It is really disappointing to not host the fireworks show on Payette Lake this year," Lisa Johnson, McCall Area Chamber event committee chair, says. "But the health and safety of our community and guests is our primary focus."
Without a viewing space where adequate social distancing and hand-sanitizing stations can be provided, the decision was made to skip the fireworks for one year in favor of alternative events that can meet health and safety guidelines for public gatherings to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Local leaders say this decision was not made lightly. The McCall Area Chamber and City of McCall conducted a survey to gather sentiment regarding hosting a fireworks show this year.
Of the 838 respondents, 51.6 percent were in favor of a show while 47.5 percent were not in favor or not sure. Planning meetings were held by the McCall Area Chamber, the City of McCall, local law enforcement, and local health officials to review public health and safety protocols needed for large-scale events. Alternate locations to allow for better social distancing were researched, but none met both fire and crowd safety criteria.
"With regard to fireworks this year, it is my opinion that we cannot, in good conscience, promote an event that jeopardizes public health by going against all social distancing and medical recommendations,"
Justin Williams, McCall chief of police, says. "This risk is simply too high."
"The annual fireworks show is just one aspect of the way our community celebrates the Fourth of July," Lindsey Harris, director of the McCall Area Chamber, says. "This year, we will still be celebrating freedom
and our country. We will just be doing it in a different way that better protects our people and our community."
More details, including a full schedule of events, will be released in early June.