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COVID-19 rains on Airdrie's parade

Airdrie's Canada Day festivities have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Airdrie Parade Committee (APC) announced April 27 this year's iteration of the Canada Day parade would be called off to help limit the spread of the virus.

"Obviously, we are disappointed it had to happen, but it’s important that everyone is staying safe and that we are in compliance with what the best practices from the Government of Alberta are," said Communications Director Sam Morros.

According to Morros, the annual parade attracts roughly 20,000 people to Main Street every July 1 and features about 100 floats.

Unfortunately, she said, the parade's cancellation could cause a drop in foot traffic to local storefronts along the parade route. 

"[The parade] is an event that supports a lot of the businesses along Main Street," she said. "For example, I know the Airdrie Public Library runs a fundraiser barbecue alongside our event every year, so that will obviously be affected."

According to Morros, plans to bring back the Canada Day Street Festival this year have also been cancelled.

Another element of Airdrie's Canada Day celebrations is the annual fireworks display, which takes place at Ed Eggerer Athletic Park in the evening. The fireworks are funded and hosted by the City of Airdrie, which announced in an April 30 press release the event would be postponed.

“We continue to follow the direction set by Alberta Health to ensure we are making the best decisions for the safety of our community,” said Clay Aragon, manager of Community Services. “Although we aren’t surprised by this decision to postpone the fireworks, we are saddened that special events are being impacted as they bring together our community in an incredible way.”

According to the release, the City is exploring options for hosting fireworks at a later date and will continue to update residents as decisions are made.

For its part, APC is still undecided on whether an alternative, online event to celebrate Canada Day will occur in the parade's place, Morros said.

"We’ve been having that conversation," she said. "It is challenging to imagine a way we could bring an [online] event to the entire city, but those are definitely conversations we are having. We are exploring a few different options, but for now, we are really just throwing our efforts into getting next year started, so we can bring it back in 2021."

Morros said it is still too early to say whether COVID-19 will impact the Santa Claus Parade, APC's other annual event that takes place in December.

Scott Strasser,
Follow me on Twitter @scottstrasser19