Another beloved Harvard tradition has fallen victim to the coronavirus pandemic. Last Thursday, May 7, the Fourth of July Committee regretfully voted to cancel this year’s celebration. Pie-eating contests, greased-pole climbs, fireworks, and the parade of antique cars and decorated bikes will all have to wait until 2021.
Chair Anne Hentz told committee members she had looked into possibilities for a fireworks display at a smaller venue than Fruitlands, possibly limited to town residents. But no site seemed workable, and social distancing at such an event would be almost impossible, she said.
Committee member Chris Connors thanked her for looking into alternatives but concluded, “The prudent decision is to cancel.” The committee agreed unanimously, although Christopher Chalifoux had to vote by hand signals, as his Zoom audio connection was not working.
Despite the cancellation, the committee is still considering selling T-shirts to honor this year’s theme, “100th Anniversary of Women’s Right to Vote.” Hentz said students at Hildreth Elementary and the Bromfield School had submitted some excellent designs for the shirts, but this year’s winner had not been selected at the time of the meeting. In a later phone conversation, Hentz said the T-shirts would probably be sold only by mail order, if at all.
By the end of the meeting, the committee had already turned its attention to next year’s Fourth of July, considering ways to coordinate with Fruitlands for the fireworks display in 2021.