LaPORTE — For the first time in 74 years, there will be no parade on the Fourth of July in LaPorte.
The LaPorte Jaycees, the longtime sponsor of Independence Day festivities in the city, revealed Wednesday the parade will be held in September, due to the coronavirus crisis.
The parade will be part of the annual Sunflower Fair, as long as it’s safe to go ahead with both major events then.
The fireworks show and other related events, like the Arts & Crafts Fair, have been canceled this year and will not be rescheduled.
Ross Ratliff, chairman of Fourth of July activities for the Jaycees, said the governor wants the state’s economy wide open by July 4, but since more than 50,000 people turn out for the parade and fireworks show, caution was viewed as the most responsible choice.
“We just wanted to make sure we were making the right decision in terms of social distancing,” he said.
Ratliff said it was a tough call in a community declared by the governor as the state capital for a day on July 4 since 1942.
“This decision wasn’t made lightly,” Ratliff said.
The Sunflower Fair in the downtown is scheduled Sept. 19.
Ratliff said it’s too early to say how much of the patriotic flavor of the parade will be retained or if features to reflect the beginning of autumn will be added.
The hope, though, is to still carry on with the long tradition of military jets flying over the city to start the parade.
He said the theme of the parade “2020. Our Vision. Our Community. LaPorte Proud” will be kept the same.
“We definitely want to showcase that during this time,” Ratliff said.