With time running short and uncertainty still in the air, the city of Roswell has canceled its Fourth of July Extravaganza. Small business owners said the cancellation will make it even more difficult for them to get through an already troubled year.
The announcement came Thursday afternoon in a press release, about a week and a half after the cancellation of the UFO Festival and Galacticon, which had also been scheduled for the Independence Day weekend.
The Fourth of July Extravaganza was to take place at a new location this year, DeBremond Stadium, 100 W. 11th.
“There’s just so much up in the air and that’s the problem,” Roswell Mayor Dennis Kintigh said.
Coordinating with and booking vendors and musical entertainers must be completed in advance, and the six weeks until the holiday weekend would still make it difficult to finalize plans, the city’s press release said.
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“We don’t know what to expect between now and July 4,” Kintigh said of state health orders concerning the number of people allowed in public gatherings. “Rather than expend monies and put down deposits for artists, we’ve chosen not to do anything.”
Kintigh said it’s possible, depending on future state health orders, a small event could be organized.
“If there’s significant relaxation we can do something. It would be more of local groups, maybe some local bands,” he said.
The Fourth of July holiday with Independence Day, the UFO Festival and Galacticon has been like Christmas in July for Alien Zone, 216 N. Main, which has a gift shop and alien attraction area. The business opened last week after being closed since March 23.
“Usually the UFO Festival makes us enough revenue to be able to get through the winter. So without that particular revenue coming in, we are looking at a little bit of a struggle more in the wintertime than we are used to,” General Manager Jessie Payne said.
“We were still hoping for something,” she said of a holiday celebration. “Our positive thoughts right now are gearing towards maybe those who are planning on having vacation here at that time,” she said.
Up the street at Casa Bella Boutique, 303 N. Main, owner Jennifer Whitcamp found difficulty in finding the words to express her frustration.
“I’m just aggravated by all of it,” she said. “It’s heartbreaking because some of us, that’s what we look forward to every year. Everything they do that brings something to downtown, that’s what we look forward to.
“So now we’re just praying that our community loves us as much as we think they do,” she said.
Whitcamp said many of her local customers have purchased gift certificates, which helped her pay rent for her shop while she was closed in March. She’s also had some online sales, even from as far away as New York.
She used federal stimulus money to make the final payment on a loan, but the future is what makes her nervous.
“The scary part is what is the next month going to be like?” she said.
“I’m trying to have patience and be patient with everything, but tomorrow, I don’t know what’s going to happen,” she said.
To keep up with local coverage of the coronavirus, go to rdrnews.com/category/news/covid-19-situation/.
City/RISD reporter Juno Ogle can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or firstname.lastname@example.org.