Among the topics brought up during the public comment portion of the June 9 Buena Vista Trustees was a request by Kathi Perry to create a replacement parade for the traditional 4th of July town parade. That popular event was canceled this year to comply with Colorado public health orders, as well as the Chaffee County Public Health Order surrounding the coronavirus pandemic known as COVID-19.
Public health orders limit the size of large gatherings to prevent the social spread of the disease. At the moment that limit is no more than 10 people. Chaffee County has submitted a variance for gatherings of large sizes, but there is no decision from the state.
The traditional parade draws hundreds of people standing shoulder to shoulder some standing six-deep on the town sidewalks for the parade and crowding the Art Show in the park.
“We’re talking about a Buena Vista July 4 freedom parade,” said Perry. “My husband is a Marine and we’ve been talking about organizing a color guard. I was wondered how many BV citizens were putting together an impromptu parade … I learned the veterans are trying to have a 4th of July freedom parade – they requested a variance from the state of Colorado.”
The Trustees weren’t opposed to the idea, but it was pointed out that the town has a process for handling any event application, that needs to be followed. That process flows through the Town of Buena Vista Recreation Department. Addressing the trustees, rather than submitting an application circumvents the efficient process that has been developed.
“I realize we have come out of quarantine from a pandemic – but these protesters [the reference is to the national social justice protests] are using the very constitutional rights we’re asking,” said Perry. “It would go from the courthouse down to Railroad Street. Participants would stay in their vehicles and the color guard would keep 6 feet apart. This is a celebration of our great nation… a 2020 grass roots parade, so I’d ask that you waive event fees.”
Mayor Duff Lacy and Town Administrator Phillip Puckett reiterated that the event applications and any requests for waivers needed to follow the established protocol; going through Recreation Director Earl Richmond, where the decision whether to approve it would be made.
No one asked Perry if the parade participants would wear facemasks, nor was it clarified how parade watchers would social distance.
The town of Buena Vista and the City of Salida both still plan to hold their traditional 4th of July fireworks displays.