WEST JORDAN, Utah — Cities across Utah are canceling their annual summer events this year, because of the uncertainty with COVID-19.
West Jordan City is the latest to call off their annual 4th of July event, the Western Stampede.
Usually, the parade, carnival, fireworks and rodeo are a yearly tradition for tens of thousands of families across the Salt Lake Valley.
"We've had to cancel the parade, the rodeo, our annual 5k run, fireworks, the carnival in the park, our vendors. It's a big deal," said Tauni Barker, West Jordan City Director of Community Relations.
A big deal, for a big reason-- the current COVID-19 global pandemic, and concerns over gatherings with thousands of people.
Barker said usually around 25,000 people attend the parade. 8-10,000 gather each night for the rodeo. Plus, she said, around 100,000 people show up to Veteran's Memorial Park for the carnival and fireworks show.
"There just really was no way to take those kind of crowds and be able to provide for social distancing," Barker said. "And the public's health is really our priority right now."
West Jordan City joins a growing list of canceled summer events across Utah, many postponed until 2021.
Here is what else is canceled, either mostly or entirely:
- America's Freedom Festival in Provo (All events canceled except the fireworks show)
- Days of '47
- WestFest in West Valley City
- Draper Days
- Park Silly Sunday Market
- Midway Swiss Days
- Roy Days
- North Ogden Cherry Days
Other cities say their big events are still undecided, including Butlerville Days in Cottonwood Heights and Ogden Pioneer Days.
A Cottonwood Heights city representative said they are still looking at all possibilities.
For Ogden Pioneer Days, Mayor Mike Caldwell said a nonprofit runs the committee that organizes the yearly event.
Canceling it would be a first in the event's now 86-year history, he explained.
"Right now we are in a wait and see pattern," Mayor Caldwell said. "We've been trying to take all the great advice we've had from our state health department and our local health departments."
He said it doesn't look too optimistic, but they still would like to do some type of celebration.
The committee has talked about going virtual, or still holding the fireworks show and concert in some capacity.
"There are a lot of ideas being pushed around," Caldwell said. "We've got some great events planners that are looking at all options now."
While they have a little more time to wait and see, Barker indicated that West Jordan needed to make their decision ASAP.
Contracts and payments would have been due soon.
Canceling now, she said, saved the city from being out any money should they have to cancel later.
While a number of cities are making the call to nix their events, some cities are planning to move forward-- even if in a different way.
Taylorsville Dayzz is still scheduled for the last week of June, according to a post on their Facebook page.
"There will be many safety measures taking place during the time of our festival. It will look different," the post states. "Rides will be sanitized after each use, there will be multiple hand washing stations, we will encourage the use of Social Distancing in the park, and the use of wearing a mask."
Organizers say they will re-evaluate the status of Taylorsville Dayzz within the next 2-3 weeks.
Midvale Harvest Days is also not canceled. A city spokesperson said they plan to hold events if Governor Gary Herbert moves the state to the "green" phase.
The spokesperson said they have canceled the morning parade and events will be smaller in scale, but they may continue with their concert and fireworks show should Utah move to the "green" phase.
The SoJo Summerfest is going completely virtual, with events taking place online.
In Herriman, the Fort Herriman Towne Days appears to still be happening, though a disclaimer for an event poster says, "Regular activities may need to be altered based on the COVID-19 directives."
According to a Facebook post, the Pleasant Grove Strawberry days has not been called off. Organizers say they will make decisions based on restrictions put forth by the Governor's office.