Edgartown cancels Fourth of July fireworks, parade

Public health and safety concerns cited.

The Edgartown select board canceled the 4th of July fireworks this year. -Lexi Pline

The Edgartown select board canceled the Fourth of July parade and fireworks celebration at their meeting Monday. 

After speaking with Police Chief Bruce McNamee, Fire Chief Alex Schaeffer, and health agent Matt Poole, town administrator James Hagerty said the event would be troublesome because of COVID-19. “A hundred thousand people congregating in the downtown area creates myriad public health concerns,” he said. “It’s a tough decision.”

The town canceled its Fourth of July celebrations last year in the early months of the pandemic. Even with Massachusetts set to lift all COVID restrictions on May 29, town leaders still felt it was best to hold off for another year.

Select board chair Arthur Smadbeck said public health amid the ongoing pandemic and a lack of public safety staffing contributed to the decision. “It would seem to me, listening to these discussions, that we have some serious public safety concerns, COVID aside,” he said.

Select board member Margaret Serpa concurred. “It’s too much concentrated in a small area of town for any management to take effect,” Serpa said. “This is not the year for the parade or the fireworks.”

Parade organizer Joe Sollitto also supported the decision to cancel the events. Select board member Michael Donaroma offered some hope for those disappointed with the news.

“Let’s get ready for next year,” he said.


  1. Poor decision. There’s always a risk in congregating that amount of people. But this is just lazy and a lack of imagination. No one is making the unvaccinated or at risk people attend this. The planners should have at least tried to do the event in some altered form

  2. Spineless leadership. No one would be forced to attend. Covid will be a distant memory by July 4. Very disappointing that the board doesn’t follow the science.

  3. Oh god, the state is reopening. We are getting a busy summer with SSA, hotel reservations, and airport flights almost full, and we are not having anything for the 4th of July. The 4th of July parade would represent a pandemic that we fought for a year and now everything is greeting back to normal.

  4. It ain’t over. Last week 3,858 Americans died of Covid. Standby for variants.
    Fireworks need to be booked well in advance. If we see more than 3,000 Covid deaths the week before the the 4th it will be considered a good decision
    Fireworks are a super spreader event, along the lines of a Trump rally.

    • Once again a political response denying the facts. You probably hate July 4 no matter what.

      • The Edgartown Fourth of July Parade and the Oak Bluffs Fireworks have been two of of high points of my summers for decades. But not this year, Covid ain’t over.

        We are still seeing 31,000 new cases a day and 550 deaths. Those are the facts. They are sick and dead people, not politics.
        You probably don’t care, the facts don’t fit your politics. .

  5. If Trump was still president, Covid would have been much more contained and the fireworks would be happening.Biden seems very confused and delirious and was elected illegally by the crazy far left liberals.

    • While Trump was President, Covid exploded.
      Since Jan. 20 what would Trump have done differently than Biden?
      Would Trump have led by example by being publicly vaccinated and encouraging all American to get vaccinated, like Biden did?
      Would we have more vaccinated people if Trump had won?
      Fewer dead?

      Biden was a poor choice for President, the American people know that, they chose the lesser of two evils.

      Where are the voter fraud indictments for the 2020 election (Trump had 78 days to that)? The 2016 election?

      Just keep beating you voter fraud drum until the cows come home, it won’t make any difference.

      It must be gut wrenching to have backed a loser. My gut wrenching has been voting for the lesser of two evils in the last two Presidential elections.

    • The Edgartown Select Board believes they are effective as much as 95% of the time, they are unsure about variants.
      Last years flu vaccine will not protect you from this years flu variants.

  6. I am very proud of this Island’s leaders for making the right decisions about these big events. Thank you for continuing to keep us safe.

    • Comparing a pandemic in 1918 to our current situation 2021 is preposterous, irresponsible and a scare tactic.

      • Some people learn from history– some are doomed to repeat it.
        I am simply stating an historic fact.
        That’s not a scare tactic.
        I am fully vaccinated, believe in the science and my life is getting back to normal.
        I have traveled to Maine to see my daughter , friends, and grandkids.
        I have gone out to dinner, inside, unmasked.
        I have been to dinner parties and even played poker with a group of 6 last week. I’m not staying home– I am living my life without much fear of covid now. How can you claim I am “forcing an agenda of fear”?
        I could care less if a bunch of unvaccinated people want to go to a parade and get infected– good for them to volunteer to get us closer to herd immunity
        The officials in Edgartown seem to want to protect the unvaccinated.
        Unfortunately, 30 % of the population is still vulnerable to this disease. it is a reasonable and responsible move by Edgartown officials to protect everyone.. Even the irresponsible people who refuse to get the jab.

    • Don, that was over a century ago. Things have changed mightily since then. If you feel so strongly about it you could simply do the American thing and exercise your right to choose to stay home. Forcing an agenda of fear on the people will not work.

  7. I could care less if some people want to help us get to herd immunity levels by getting the virus , rather than the shot.
    I blame this cancellation squarely on them.

  8. Just keep it up Don, you won’t be invited to any fabulous Trump rallies at Ken’s place. The mimosas are to die for.

    • Albert– Dang.. I didn’t think about that..I guess I’ll just have to make my own mimosas and watch trump rallies on tv.

  9. Children have lost more than a year of school because of this hysteria. Most will never catch up. The Greatest Generation is long gone and we’re now governed by power hungry hysterics.

  10. Completely Idiotic.

    HORRIBLE NEWS for all the businesses that have suffered.


  11. “Follow the science “. Oh wait nah. We dont follow science unless we PERSONALLY agree with it. Oh and we also dont let people make their own free will decisions about health. But hey you can go to Mc Donald’s 3 times a day. Lol comical.

    Terrible choice.

  12. I applaud my town officials who are putting safety above popularity. We cant blame them for this dilemma. If a large % of citizens hadnt ignored the protocols, attended super spreader events and denied science, we wouldn’t have drawn this out for over a year. Blame them, not the folks who have to continue to clean up their mess.

  13. Denied what science? People deny the science of proper diet and exercise all day long. 70% obese. The real problem which only exacerbates covid. Its comical.

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