Plano Balloon Fest, Independence Day Parade Canceled

Plano Balloon Festival // photo Jennifer Shertzer
Plano Balloon Festival // photo Jennifer Shertzer

Plano Balloon Festival, Book Sale, Independence Day Parade, Patriotic Pops Concert Canceled; 4th of July Fireworks Still on

Even as businesses across the state continue to reopen and more people return to work, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to claim several high-profile events, including in Plano.

The largest event canceled is the 2020 Central Market Plano Balloon Festival, which was scheduled for September 18-20. Organizers called off this year’s event out of consideration for the safety of festival attendees, volunteers, sponsors, vendors and pilots.

“Our community has supported the Plano Balloon Festival for 40 years by investing in the event with their volunteer time and money as marketing sponsors and vendors. Balloon pilots have spent time with attendees educating them about the sport of hot-air ballooning. In this time of uncertainty, we cannot ask our community to risk their health to volunteer or provide funding when businesses are struggling,” stated Jo Via, executive director of Plano Balloon Festival, Inc. in a press release.

Event organizers are giving runners a virtual option for the 2020 Balloon Festival Run, which in its 10th year features a half marathon, 10K, 5K and 1K. Runners completing the virtual route will still receive finisher medals and race t-shirts.

Book It for 2021

Another pandemic-related casualty this summer is the annual Book Sale benefiting Friends of the Plano Public Library which was scheduled for late July. The sale was canceled out of safety concerns for both shoppers and event volunteers.

“We’re very disappointed to have to cancel this popular event, but our first priority is the health and safety of our shoppers as well as the volunteers who set up and service the sale,” said Scott Johnson, president of Friends of the Plano Public Library, in a press release. “We anticipate the pandemic will be safely under control in time for the Book Sale in 2021.”

A nonprofit, membership organization dedicated to supporting Plano libraries, Friends of the Plano Public Library has memberships available. Visit its website for more information.

Independence Day Parade Called Off

Another high-profile cancelation is 2020 Plano Lions Independence Day Parade which was scheduled for the 4th of July. The parade has been called off by the City of Plano because the route was deemed unsafe for large groups of people due to current social distancing requirements.

However, in a bit of good news, the 2020 Plano Lions Christmas Parade, which will start at 9:00 a.m. on December 12, is planned to proceed as scheduled.

Still Music to Everyone’s Ears

The Plano Symphony Orchestra has canceled its annual 4th of July Patriotic Pops Concert scheduled for the Eisemann Center for the Performing Arts in Richardson. Due to the lowered seating requirements imposed during the pandemic, the organization determined it was not financially viable to hold this year’s event.

However, there are two bits of good symphony-related news. The group will still hold an event on Independence Day, instead showing a virtual broadcast of a previous 4th of July concert. The Plano Symphony Orchestra also plans to begin presenting its complete 2020-2021 season in September.

Fireworks Show Remains a July 4th Fixture

Saving the best news for last, Plano’s All-American 4th fireworks display, which will take place over the city’s skies between 9:30 and 10:00 p.m. on Independence Day, has not been impacted by the pandemic.

The event, which is set to music, will be simulcast on KLAK 97.5 FM, is jointly hosted by Plano Parks and Recreation, the City of Plano and Plano Arts and Events.

In past years, fireworks have been shot off near Oak Point Park & Nature Preserve. However, this year’s show is being staged from Lavon Farms near the Plano Event Center. Fireworks will be set off from between 500 and 600 feet, allowing the show to be seen across a bigger swath of Plano.

Citizens are encouraged to maintain social distancing while viewing the fireworks show from their own vehicles, homes or neighborhoods. A map of the viewing area is available online.

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