The Montclair Celebrates committee has canceled the township’s annual 4th of July Celebration for the second year in a row.
The cancellation includes the parade and community picnic usually held at Edgemont Park. Last year, the celebration was cancelled for the first time in more than a century, though Montclair Celebrates assembled a collection of videos and photos from past events to mark the holiday.
“We are deeply disappointed that we must again cancel the July 4 celebration, but given the state guidelines on public gatherings and our inability to plan with any certainty over the past six months, we made the difficult decision to call off the events,” Donato DiGeronimo, spokesperson for the Montclair Celebrates July 4 Committee, said in a press release from the group.
The decision was made in consultation with the township manager.
However, there will be another Independence Day celebration in the area: On July 1 at Brookdale Park, Essex County will hold a concert by the Infernos as well as a fireworks display. The event starts at 7:30 p.m. The rain date is July 2.
Planning for the July 4 celebrations typically begins six to eight months before the holiday — fundraising, recruitment, contract negotiations and public safety arrangements for the events are all coordinated by a volunteer committee, according to the Montclair Celebrates release.
“The July 4 parade draws thousands of spectators and hundreds of participants,” Montclair Celebrates said in its release. “It was determined that Montclair does not have the resources to enforce social distancing for the large public gathering in accordance with state guidelines.”
New Jersey no longer has capacity limits on outdoor gatherings, but says social distancing should still be practiced. The social distancing rules are no longer in effect for indoor businesses or for venues, indoors or outdoors, with fixed seating.
The volunteer committee is working on plans to recognize last year’s Grand Marshal honoree, Dan Gill, a Glenfield teacher for more than 50 years.
“There’s no one who wants the July 4 parade more than the committee,” DiGeronimo said in the release. “We know how much Montclair would love to have a parade, but we are hopeful for the future of the event.”
— Talia Wiener