Coronavirus changes summer celebrations

SEATTLE — Some summer celebrations are canceled and others will be revamped due to the coronavirus.

Organizers behind Seattle’s Pride Parade announced Thursday that they will be going virtual for their large-group events in June.

“This was a really hard decision for us to make and while also being incredibly easy at the same time,” explained Krystal Marx, executive director of Seattle Pride.

"It was easy because we want to put the health of our community first, we want to make sure people have a fantastic celebration and meaningful event, but not at the expense of their health."

Marx said they are still deciding the details of the virtual Seattle Pride event, but expect it to last 3 days.

“After putting this parade on for 46 years now, it’s really hard to envision it as anything else but that’s what our community is about envisioning and doing something new, in your face, celebratory,” said Marx.

>> PHOTOS: Seattle Pride Parade 2019

“We thank the hundreds of event sponsors, community partners, vendors and event participants for your continued support as our efforts now shift to creating a different kind of Pride celebration -- but one which continues to celebrate diversity and bring us together when we need it most,” organizers said.

Other events include the PrideFest at Seattle, TransPride, PrideFest Capitol Hill and Seattle Pride in the Park.

More details about the virtual events in June will be announced next month.

In Carnation the Fourth of July parade is canceled. The small-town parade that’s been a tradition for decades draws as many as 15,000 to line the streets.

"It was really hard when you're canceling a festivity that is so important to your community. It was heartbreaking," said Carnation Mayor Kim Lisk. She's helped plan the parade for 24 years.

She says the fireworks will go on. She’s talked to Western Display Fireworks and they will scrap the low fireworks and focus on those high explosions, hopeful residents can see them from home.

“So it’s like okay, let’s take the lows away and just go high and I was reassured we can see them in our backyard,” said Lisk.

That’s something the City of Sammamish considered too.

“We thought maybe we could send them up higher in the air so people can watch from home. The logistics of Sammamish which is hilly and lots of trees, people would just come,” said Christie Malchow, Deputy Mayor of Sammamish.

She says a down payment on the fireworks is due next week. The city council voted Tuesday to cancel, focusing on resident safety and the importance of social distancing.

“It’s really hard. You know everybody is clamoring for a sense of community and personal interaction with neighbors and friends. Our concern is another spike in COVID-19 cases,” said Malchow.

Not only did Sammamish cancel the Fourth of July celebration, but the city also canceled all community events that draw people together, all summer. Many cities are facing the same tough decisions.