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Organizers say the challenges were too great to host a car parade, so they decided to tweak the Fourth of July celebration

After conversations with the city of Wilsonville about feasibility during the COVID-19 pandemic, organizers of a budding Fourth of July car parade decided that it wouldn't be possible to pull off the event. So, instead, they're hosting a virtual event on July Fourth as a way to bring the Wilsonville community together.

"When we came down to it, the decision was that it was not possible to have a vehicle parade because it would be so popular that we could run into challenges adhering to the governor's guidelines, so the We Are Wilsonville group (organizers and part of the Wilsonville Chamber of Commerce) said no. We didn't want to put the city or ourselves in that position so we have to step back," said Kevin Ferrasci O'Malley, Wilsonville Chamber of Commerce CEO.

He added that some hurdles included impacts to traffic, working with the Oregon Department of Transportation, and restrictions to prevent the spread of the virus. Currently, Clackamas County is in Phase 1 of reopening, meaning gatherings of 25 people or more are prohibited.

"The biggest challenges around planning any summer event right now are COVID-19 and the governor's order restricting large gatherings. Unfortunately, both of those things are beyond our control," said Bill Evans, city of Wilsonville communications and marketing manager, via email.

The new event, called Wilsonville Celebrates 4th of July, will feature a photo contest, historical trivia, musical performances, livestreaming of at least one neighborhood parade and other virtual activities. Along with We Are Wilsonville, it's organized by the Wilsonville-Boones Ferry Historical Society, which also will receive proceeds from the event.

"I'm disappointed we couldn't pull off the parade, but I still think this will be a great way to keep everyone safe and to bring celebration and joy to the people of Wilsonville," said organizer Carrie Postma.

Postma said Morey's Landing is planning to host a neighborhood parade, which will be livestreamed. Organizers also are encouraging families to participate in a porch picnic, where families gather on their porch and enjoy food. She added that local businesses are encouraged to sponsor individual events. There also will be giveaways to support businesses.

"We're trying to bring the whole community together, businesses organizations and the city of Wilsonville," Postma said.

Ferrasci O'Malley hoped that a large-scale parade in Wilsonville could be possible in the future. Still, he's excited for the new iteration of this event.

"It's going to be a really fun event and a little bit unique since that's the year we're in right now," he said.

For more information on the event, visit wearewilsonville.org.


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