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Scotts Valley to resume in-person Fourth of July celebration this summer — but no fireworks

In yet another sign of a return to normalcy, an in-person Independence Day parade will happen in Scotts Valley. But the event will be “modified” — and there won’t be any fireworks at SkyPark, which leaders acknowledge is disappointing but say is necessary for a host of reasons.

The city of Scotts Valley will once again celebrate the Fourth of July with an in-person event — albeit one that’s a bit different than normal — after a festival-free year in 2020.

City leaders voted Wednesday night to greenlight a “modified” Fourth of July parade to replace Scotts Valley’s usual SkyPark festival and fireworks, which is “absolutely legendary” most years, City Manager Tina Friend said.

Instead, the city will plan an outdoor, in-person event of smaller scale with no pyrotechnics. Plans have yet to be drawn up, but “it will feel a little different this year,” Friend told city council members.

City staff cited a number of reasons behind the decision, including staff shortages; a quick turnaround time to plan a large-scale event; and the continued closure of SkyPark field to repair damage caused by the presence of the CZU fires basecamp last year. “This is a disappointment to the city and to the community,” staff wrote in their report.

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In 2020, Scotts Valley rallied to host a virtual Fourth of July parade amid the pandemic. Councilmember Donna Lind played a major role in organizing and fundraising for that event, and volunteered to take the helm of this year’s festivities, too.

Lind said she has heard from many residents who are willing to volunteer or sponsor the Fourth of July parade to boost community morale after a tough year.

“People will step forward because people are hungry to get back to where we were,” councilmember Randy Johnson said.

Because the city’s short-staffed recreation and police departments don’t have the typical workforce to run a Fourth of July event, the council approved up to $10,000 for the city to hire private security and rent port-a-potties for the parade.