City cancels July 4th Star Spangled Sanford event

Photo by Andrew Calhoun on Unsplash

Sanford’s annual July 4th celebration traditionally features live music, food and beer vendors in Fort Mellon Park and a 30-minute fireworks show over Lake Monroe.

Not this year.

Sanford City Commissioners agreed Monday night to cancel Star Spangled Sanford, the city’s patriotic celebration.

City Manager Norton Bonaparte told commissioners that city staff was leaning toward cancelling the event because of the challenges in maintaining social distancing guidelines put in place by Gov. Ron DeSantis in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The event in some years has attracted 100,000 people along Lake Monroe.

2-4-1 drinks every day in Downtown Sanford.
Membership has its privileges.

Officials in Orlando, New Smyrna, Edgewater, Orange City, Cocoa and Rockledge have canceled July 4 events. Bonaparte said there was concern that if Sanford hosted its annual event that the city would be overwhelmed by people coming from other communities that had canceled Fourth of July events.

District 4 City Commissioner Patty Mahany agreed and Sanford should proceed cautiously.

“Everybody hates to see it happen (cancellation), but I really don’t want the city to make national news for coronavirus,” Mahany said.

Bonaparte said there have been some discussions about hosting an event later in the year, perhaps on Labor Day or Veterans’ Day. He said the city could also save the money in anticipation of tax revenue declines.

“I’d personally like to see us save the money,” Mahany said.

Commissioner Patrick Austin doubted the city would save money because it was already under contract with the fireworks company. However, Parks and Recreation Director Lisa Jones said a contact had not yet been signed.

“May 29 was our deadline, so the city is not obligated,” Jones said.

There was a consensus among the 4 commissioners and the mayor to cancel Star Spangled Sanford for 2020. Bonaparte will bring ideas for alternative events later in the year back to commissioners if such ideas arise.

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