OSWEGO — Mayor Billy Barlow announced Monday that the city has canceled the Independence Day Parade for the second consecutive year due to issues created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The city, on Sunday, July 4, will hold their a downtown block party with the annual firework display, launched from the railroad pedestrian bridge over the Oswego River at 9:45 p.m., along with a concert in downtown Oswego featuring local rock band “Long Time Coming.”
The free concert will take place on West First Street from 7 to 9:30 p.m., the open container ordinance will be temporarily lifted to allow alcoholic beverages and several downtown restaurants will further expand available outdoor dining space.
“While we can’t have the Independence Day Parade in 2021, we do still think it is important to host our annual Independence Day Celebration in some form,” Mayor Barlow said. “We’ll host our firework celebration over the Oswego River to allow several different viewing opportunities and our downtown concert before the fireworks will offer folks entertainment and an opportunity to dine along West First Street throughout the evening,” Barlow said.
In addition to Long Time Coming playing on West First Street, local artist John McConnell will be performing live from 5 to 7 p.m. A magician and novelty vendor will travel throughout downtown prior to the firework display and the city plans to have bounce houses and other outdoor activities in and around Don Hill Plaza before the fireworks. The fireworks may be viewed from multiple locations throughout the city including the former YMCA building parking lot, east and west linear riverwalks. The city will also close the Utica Street Bridge to vehicles to create another prime viewing location.
Mayor Barlow also said after speaking with Haborfest officials that Harborfest 2021 would again be cancelled. Being a free, city-wide festival with no specific points of entry, there’s no way screen attendees or limit crowd capacity.
Peter Myles, executive director of Harborfest said, “Unfortunately, due to the unpredictable nature of the pandemic and related issues such as the variances, vaccines, vaccine hesitancy, etc., the Oswego Harborfest Board of Directors has decided to cancel Harborfest 2021. This was a very difficult decision, but the board felt it was not possible to safely hold this community event this year and are looking forward to Harborfest 2022.”