Alameda cancels popular Fourth of July parade

Former Alameda Mayor Trish Herrera Spencer at the city's Fourth of July parade in 2017. PHOTO/Steven Tavares

With the state and county’s shelter in place extended through the end this month, Alameda’s long-running and popular Fourth of July parade is canceled, city officials announced on Tuesday night.

Alameda beatThe Independence Day parade, one of the largest in the nation, is attended by roughly 60,000 Alameda and East Bay residents who line the parade route each year. More than 100 hundred floats and community groups travel across the island from Park Street to Webster Street.

“There’s no way the governor would let us have 60,000 people for a little parade,” Alameda Mayor Marilyn Ezzy Ashcroft said on Tuesday night.

“As disappointing as it is, it has to be done,” Alameda Councilmember Jim Oddie added.

Last January, in order to continue the tradition amid a number of long-time organizer retiring from the event, the Alameda City Council approved an appropriation of almost $130,000 to fund the parade.

But concerns over the ability to adhere to social distancing guidelines and large crowds led city staff to recommend cancellation of the parade.

While the likelihood of canceling the parade had been discussed over the past month, city staff were hopeful the parade could continue as scheduled. But as the shelter in place continues for another month, the timeframe needed for organizing the parade is continually shrinking.

Local businesses and community groups, also severely impacted by the economic downturn, would be unable to provide the same level of support for the parade as in previous years, staff wrote. “A portion of the budget depends on business sponsorships and many, if not all, of these local businesses are facing financial struggles from the wide spread economic impact of the shelter in place order,” staff wrote in a memo.