Three weeks after news broke about Danville's 2021 Independence Day parade being canceled in light of public health guidelines, the town government and the Kiwanis Club of the San Ramon Valley have unveiled new plans for a Labor Day weekend parade in downtown.
The parade, scheduled for Sept. 4, the Saturday of the holiday weekend, would be the first large-scale community special event in Danville since the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020. The organizers said the event will adhere to state and county safety guidelines while also keeping "the Danville spirit alive."
"The late summer date for this parade allows more time for the additional planning required to stage such a large event and increases the opportunity for more families to get vaccinated," town officials said in a statement Friday announcing the upcoming parade.
Discussions between the Kiwanis Club and town on a potential new date for an in-person parade began in the wake of the public announcement earlier this month that the 2021 Independence Day parade would be canceled -- a decision met with some community disappointment as COVID-19 health conditions appeared to be improving.
After shifting their annual Fourth of July parade to a virtual experience in 2020, Kiwanis Club members hoped to be back on the streets of Danville this summer but said they were forced to call it off because the town would not issue a permit with enough time to undertake preparations for an event that typically draws hundreds of participants and tens of thousands of spectators.
For their part, Danville officials said they had no choice but to hold back on a permit for Independence Day because they had not yet received clearance from Contra Costa County health officials to allow such a public event in light of the pandemic conditions.
But new guidance from the California Department of Public Health on May 21 created parameters conducive to allowing a large-scale outdoor event in downtown Danville later in the year. The two sides got together and reached an agreement on a Labor Day weekend parade.
"We sincerely value our partnership with the Kiwanis and applaud their flexibility and energy in adapting to the current challenges of planning large events," Danville Mayor Renee Morgan said in a statement.
"The Town and the Kiwanis are working together to organize a safe event and we are thrilled that Danville will be able to have a parade this year for our community. We urge everyone to get vaccinated so that this event can be a safe and fun occasion and we look forward to the 4th of July parade returning next year," Morgan added.
Rob Goldstein, of the Kiwanis Club, said Friday that his organization is "absolutely excited to celebrate July 4th on Sept 4th: What's a few months to ensure the safety of our community?"
"We all deserve to have the best and biggest parade in the Bay Area in celebration of the reopening of our state and Kiwanis in partnership with the town of Danville is excited to deliver the event. We can make this year’s Labor Day parade a LABOR of love for our great town," Goldstein said. "Kiwanis of the San Ramon Valley looks forward to the July 4, 2022 parade."
Town officials also said they are working with other event organizers to monitor what activities and events are safe and realistic during 2021.
They confirmed organizers of several marquee annual events have canceled their summer slate for this year, including the Memorial Day ceremony, Danville Summerfest, Hot Summer Sundays Car Shows and Danville d’Elegance Car Show.
The town plans to keep a frequently updated list of events in Danville on the town website's calendar.