CROUCH, Idaho — The Garden Valley Chamber of Commerce voted to cancel the City of Crouch’s annual Fourth of July parade and soapbox derby this year due to social distancing concerns.
Crouch's population is less than 200 people, but the Boise County town routinely draws thousands of visitors for the Fourth of July.
“This year everything is a little bit different given the COVID-19 crisis, so we had to make some modifications to our Fourth of July plans,” said Keith Hughes, president of the Garden Valley Chamber of Commerce.
Hughes said he was "really, really disappointed" to curtail the celebration, but says there was no way around the decision.
“In good faith, I could not sit there and tell Central District Health ‘yup we’ve got the parade route, yup we’ll have this many people and we will maintain social distancing,'” Hughes said. “I just could not see that happening, and unfortunately we had our first few COVID cases here in Boise County.”
However, the chamber still has some fun planned for Crouch.
“We do an annual flag-raising ceremony that we host with our veterans so we kick off the day with that,” Hughes said. “We have our annual duck race, and of course we’re finishing with the fireworks show.”
Hughes said the Chamber of Commerce is drawing chalk lines to encourage social distancing for families, and one-way foot traffic areas in between.
“We also have 500 face masks that we’ll be giving out for free at the fireworks show if people want them,” he added.
The chamber president said this was not an easy decision, but it was one made out of respect for the community.
“Even though at the Chamber our goal is to bring visitors here, we are being respectful for everybody in our community by reducing that risk,” Hughes said.
The Garden Valley Chamber of Commerce hopes the coronavirus will be long gone by next summer, so they can double their efforts towards their next full Fourth of July celebration in Crouch.
At KTVB, we’re focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the virus. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: www.ktvb.com/coronavirus.
Facts not fear: More on coronavirus
See our latest updates in our YouTube playlist: