RIVERSIDE (CNS) - Riverside's traditional -- and popular -- outdoor fireworks celebrations for July 4th will not be held this year to discourage crowding as the coronavirus threat lingers, and to conserve funds needed to bolster the municipal budget, officials said today.
"This celebration is held dear by many Riverside families, so this is a very difficult decision for everyone,'' Riverside City Councilwoman Erin Edwards said.
"I am hopeful that we can move forward with an event that allows Riversiders to gather safely to celebrate our nation's birth.''
The city annually hosts fireworks extravaganzas at Mt. Rubidoux and La Sierra Park, but the city council voted 6-1 Tuesday -- with Councilman Chuck Conder, a retired U.S. Air Force major, casting the lone no vote -- to cancel the shows and set aside about $123,800 that would have been needed to pay for them.
The city is contending with mounting expenses stemming from the public health orders that forced businesses to close, reducing tax revenue.
The city has hosted July 4 pyrotechnics at Mt. Rubidoux and La Sierra Park since 1996, and the shows draw tens of thousands of people on every occasion, according to the Riverside Parks, Recreation & Community Services Department.
The Mt. Rubidoux celebration is the biggest attraction and can be viewed from virtually any cardinal direction within 10 miles of Riverside.
A "virtual fireworks celebration'' is under consideration and could entail a lower-scale show on Victoria Avenue, between Arlington Avenue and Jefferson Street, according to the city.