In normal years, members of the Columbia Chamber of Commerce would be busy planning for the annual “Glorious 4th of July Parade, Games and BBQ” event in Columbia State Historic Park. But unfortunately, the decision was made to cancel the 2020 event in an effort to protect people from the COVID-19 virus.
The state park is now open for visitors (individuals, families, small groups), but with the crowds who typically attend the huge Fourth of July event, it would be impossible to practice social distancing on the popular Independence Day holiday. According to Kristan Robinson, Department of Parks and Recreation spokesperson, “Though Columbia State Park is open, the state has not lifted its non-essential travel ban, and therefore we can’t encourage visitors to visit from outside our area.”
It is believed that folks in Columbia began the Fourth of July parade tradition 168 years ago, in 1852.
“I imagine the patriotic parade did not happen during the 1918 flu pandemic or perhaps during World War II summers, but most other years it has been a highlight for the citizens of Columbia and neighboring towns, and draws thousands of visitors from the Valley and the Bay Area and beyond,” said Leslie Davis, a Columbia Chamber member.
Though Columbia cannot celebrate the Fourth of July with a parade this year, the Columbia Chamber anticipates next summer’s event will be better than ever. If you’ve ever wanted to march in a parade, Columbia’s is the best, organizers said. It’s short and easy; less than six blocks long, almost flat, and partially shady. Individuals, families and groups are encouraged to decorate themselves, their pets, bicycles, vintage vehicles, and join the 2021 parade. The patriotic day-long event also includes a band concert, dancing in the street, BBQ, and old fashioned contests. Some crowd favorites include the greased pole climb, egg toss and watermelon eating; and when the Columbia Volunteer Fire Department Engine Company No. 1 brings out the historic hand-pumper “Papeete” for a demonstration on Columbia’s Main Street, both kids and adults enjoy playing in the water.
No decision has been made yet regarding the fate of other events on the Columbia Chamber 2020 calendar. These include the Columbia Art Show and Fiddle & Bango Contest in September, the Harvest Festifall craft fair in October, and the Las Posadas Nativity Procession in December.
For more information, visit columbiacalifornia.com or call 209-536-1672.