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Vancouver cancels Fourth of July fireworks, announces 'Summer Fest'

Instead of an Independence Day fireworks display, Vancouver will kick off an alternative series of events.
Credit: Fireworks on 4th of July

VANCOUVER, Wash. — For yet another year since the arrival of COVID-19, Vancouver will not have its Fourth of July fireworks display. Instead, The Historic Trust announced something else for people of all ages to enjoy — the advent of "Summer Fest" at Fort Vancouver.

On Sunday, July 3, the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site will host a free day of live music, games, rides in military vehicles for historic tours, and a movie in the park at dusk.

“The Trust’s partners are excited to welcome our community in Vancouver and Southwest Washington to this gorgeous park for smiles, laughter, wide-open spaces, as well as all of the movies, dancing, games, food, and music you might expect in July,” said Amy VanCamp, Events Director for The Historic Trust.

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Attendees are encouraged to bring a picnic or buy food from local vendors, along with beer and cider tastings to be located behind the historic Grant House.

The event is slated to begin at 11 a.m. that Sunday, continuing through the movie screening at night.

The Trust indicated that a slate of smaller events in July will allow organizations at the Vancouver National Historic Reserve to spread out the stress that large public events can place on local public safety and transit networks, while taking potential COVID-19 impacts into account.

There will also be family games and a movie night at the Fort Vancouver parade ground on July 8 hosted by the City of Vancouver. The Historic Trust will host similar movie nights ever other Thursday from July 21 through September 1.

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The decision to cancel fireworks again this year stems primarily from concerns over wildfire risk, the Trust said in a statement. That risk has been compounded by low staffing at public safety agencies that would need to be available to respond.

“How to safely wish America 'Happy Birthday' in 2022 has been a challenge for cities across the country, as many urban places, especially in the West, are grappling with increased fire hazards,” said VanCamp. “In addition to the increased risk of fire and understaffed public safety departments, we had to weigh the risk of spending significant dollars on fireworks while we were still at the height of the Omicron wave of COVID in the United States."

Last year, fireworks bans were exceedingly common in cities and counties throughout the region, including Clark County. Most of those bans were temporary, but Portland implemented a permanent ban earlier this year.

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