Planned Fourth of July Event in Orinda Draws Mixed Reactions

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Many Bay Area cities have cancelled Fourth Of July events to minimize crowds because of COVID-19 concerns.

But in Orinda, the annual Fourth of July parade is on. However, some are concerned that with so few other fourth of July celebrations in Contra Costa County and many more people will head to Orinda.

Since 1984, the Orinda Fourth of July parade and celebration has been a tradition, drawing crowds of up to 5,000 people some years.

Last year, the parade didn't happen because of COVID-19, but this year the Orinda City Council voted a few weeks ago to go forward with one this year.

“I think it’s good. I used to come here as a kid and it’s nice to see things getting back to normal,” said Orinda resident David Becker.

But with other holiday events cancelled in Piedmont, Concord, Danville, Clayton and other Contra Costa County cities, Councilmember Inga Miller expressed concerns that Orinda would draw larger crowds this year. Miller also believes the city can't limit how many people show up. She and Orinda mayor Amy Worth voted against holding the event this year.

Worth released a statement Sunday that read in part: “It is important that we exercise care and caution. Any special events need to be organized to reflect that so that participants stay safe.”

Bill Waterman is with the Orinda Association, which is putting on the parade and he believes the event can be held safely.

“The idea is we have a parade route that is spread out, an entire mile so people can socially distance and we are also going to suggest people wear a mask , especially unvaccinated kids,” Waterman said.

Waterman said the association also made changes to help keep people safe. He said there will be no pancake breakfast and no food and beverages will be sold at the event.

“We think that will control the congregating in line,” Waterman added.

But there will be live music at the Gazebo.

“I think if people use common sense and socially distance it will be fine. It’s outdoors,” said Orinda resident Ron Wallace.

Organizers of the Orinda event told NBC Bay Area that people who don’t feel comfortable attending the parade in person can watch it online.

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