Bethel’s Fourth of July Parade, themed "United We Stand," will go to great lengths this year to protect people from crowding and the potential spread of coronavirus. The event will be an extended motorized tour of almost every neighborhood in town, stretching from Tundra Ridge to Blueberry Subdivision.
“So, the route is calculated at a little over 25 miles,” said Fire Chief Bill Howell. “We’re probably not going to be doing 5 to 10 miles per hour in those areas that are between the subdivisions, so folks need to be prepared for a little higher speed between these subdivisions. So we’re really focusing on this year’s theme is, it’s a driving parade.”
Howell said that even with picking up the speed between the neighborhoods, he estimates that the new parade route may take anywhere from two to four hours. To keep people safe from any coronavirus contagion, the carnival that usually takes place at Pinky’s Park has been canceled.
The city will give out awards for the best float, as well as invite a public vote on Facebook. Organizers don’t know how many floats will be in Bethel’s extended Fourth of July parade; the deadline for applying has been moved ahead to July 3.
Provisions are being made to help people in the floats to cut out early if they need to, but Howell said that the city vehicles, like the fire department’s new long ladder truck, will be doing the entire route and visiting every neighborhood in Bethel on Saturday, July 4. The parade will begin at the south side of the small boat harbor at 10 a.m., and end on Front Street.