Portland cancels firework display just days before the holiday

Posted at 8:37 PM, Jun 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-29 20:37:02-04

The Portland Area Chamber of Commerce has officially canceled their July 3 fireworks display.

This despite recently being approved for a permit by Portland's city council, the Chamber of Commerce has now canceled the display scheduled for Friday.

The city planned to hold the celebration on the 60 acre Bogue Flats Recreational Area, with heavy police presence and more than 30 volunteers for crowd control.

However, the Chamber decided to cancel after getting advice from Ionia County Prosecutor.

"The fireworks display is not inherently a violation to the executive order, but it could become one," said Kyle Butler, Ionia County Prosecutor. "This was simply an advisory to educate the public to not put themselves in a bad spot and not put anyone else in a bad spot."

Much of Portland was excited to gather here at Bogue flats for one of the few firework show, but feel disappointed in the last minute cancellation.

"I was planning on going, at some point, we have to get back to normal," said Portland business owner, Tim Fuller.

But not all residents of Portland are upset over the cancellation. Cindy Sonday believes it was too early to have an event of that size during the pandemic.

"I'm kind of relieved, would hate to see anyone get sick."

Although it was the chamber's call to cancel, they are disappointed they had to make the decision.

"We are saddened and disappointed," said Leo F. Madarang and VP of the Portland Area Chamber of Commerce. "We would have done everything we possibly could have to make sure everything would have been safe but unfortunately we weren't able to do that."

The chamber's decision came after the Ionia County Prosecutor sent an advisory, reminding the city of the 100 outdoor gathering limit at the park.

"We have all these other municipalities that have canceled fireworks so are we going to see communities outside of Ionia county and that could be a problem," said Butler. "I wanted them to know what the law was so they could make the best decision possible."

With advisories from both the prosecutor and the health department coming in less than a week before the event, the chamber said time was against them.

"We were hoping to come up with some alternatives to be able to hold the event still but due to the time frame, we didn't get a chance," said Madarang.

Although many firework shows are canceled, starting June 29 you can legally set off fireworks on your own property in most cities throughout Michigan from now until July 4th.

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