SIS, BOOM . . . BLAH: Kiwanis, Tempe cancel joint July 4th Festival this year

The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed one of Tempe’s signature events this summer. The Kiwanis Club and the city are bagging their joint July 4 Festival at Town Lake. –Wrangler News file photo

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Uncertainty about the lingering COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the Kiwanis Club of Tempe and the city canceling their jointly sponsored July 4th Tempe Town Lake Festival this year.

Planning officials said that the usual business sponsors have not been able to commit during trying economic times, and it remains unclear whether public-health guidelines about gathering in groups will be lifted by July.

“Though we are disappointed that the July 4th celebration will not take place in 2021, public health remains at the heart of every decision we make,” Tempe Mayor Corey Woods said. “An event of this scale is very difficult to plan without any public-health assurances.”

Kiwanis Club President Dick Neuheisel also expressed disappointment.

“We hope that a scaled-back celebration can still be held, if stay-at-home guidelines are lifted by June, but it will not be possible to organize the type of event we are all used to in 2021,” Neuheisel said.

The Kiwanis Club hopes to be back in 2022 with a full-fledged Fourth of July community celebration.

Fourth of July fireworks light up the Tempe skyline. –Wrangler News photo by Billy Hardiman

For 69 years, the Kiwanis Club has organized the July 4th celebration, among the most-attended gatherings in Arizona, attracting an estimated 100,000 people to Tempe Beach Park and around Tempe Town Lake. Its 35-minute fireworks display is a signature part of the annual party. The Kiwanis Club donates proceeds from ticket and food sales to local charities’ programs for children.

The city provides in-kind contributions to make the event possible, including public safety services and solid-waste cleanup.

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