Weather leads to parade cancellation

Plans were set for another Fourth of July Celebration Parade to occur this weekend, but non-cooperative weather in the area put a halt to the event Saturday afternoon.

Rain forced the Champaign County Freedom Celebration Committee and Board to cancel the parade and festivities on Saturday afternoon. The fireworks scheduled for the evening at Dodds Park were postponed until Sunday evening.

The decision to cancel the parade was made by the Board of Directors Committee around 12:30 p.m. Saturday.

Cancelling the parade is not something the Board takes lightly. Margaret Givens, volunteer coordinator for the Freedom Celebration, was one of the people that decided on the fate of this year’s parade. Unfortunately, Givens said, there was no way of rescheduling the parade.

“There’s no way to put it back together,” said Givens, “which is why the decision to cancel is always made at the very last minute. All of these people are there and we’re always hoping that the weather will clear. But this year we couldn’t go ahead with it, so we had to cancel.”

Many school bands that traveled to be in the parade were unable to participate due to inclement weather. The rain is not good for instruments or floats, Givens said.

“We’re just very sad,” Givens said. “That is a lot of work by a lot of people. It’s such a disappointment. Everyone who put together a float or brought a whole band is disappointed. It’s a community effort. A lot of people have their Fourth of July geared towards taking the children out and watching the parade. We don’t like to make that decision to cancel, but we had no choice.”

The weekend was disappointing not only for the participants of the parade, but also for the committee itself. By not having the parade, the committee suffered financially as well.

“This year the parade was raising money for us,” Givens said. “It very much affects us financially in that we didn’t collect from the parade, but we had to pay for the parade.”