Mount Kisco is hoping to resume its Fire Department Parade this year, but a host of variables related to the coronavirus and guidance from health officials and the state will determine whether that can be achieved.
The department has requested permission from the Village Board to hold the parade on Friday, July 19. It would be one of the first large gatherings in the area since the pandemic shut down society in March 2020. Last year’s parade, similar to virtually every other public event, was canceled last year.
Mayor Gina Picinich and the village trustees encouraged the fire department last week to submit a plan detailing how it hopes to spread people out along the route to ensure social distancing. In previous years, hundreds of residents have lined the sidewalk along the parade route in good weather.
The parade, which has been held annually on a Friday evening in July for years, has typically started at Moore Avenue and East Main Street, before proceeding up East Main and onto South Moger Avenue, where it concludes.
Picinch also asked the fire department to reorganize or curtail some of the post-parade festivities that its volunteers usually engage in following the parade. There is also the possibility that it might have to be canceled depending on guidance and what is transpiring with the virus.
“There is going to need to be some understanding about how certain parts and pieces are going to be done this year based on what the guidance is at the time,” Picinich said.
When the board discussed the matter last week, the state guidance allowed for up to 200 people at an outdoor event, she said. As of Monday, up to 500 people can attend an outdoor event if there is proof of vaccination.
With infection rates steadily declining over the past month and the percentage of the population that has been vaccinated climbing, it is possible for guidance to be revised over the next two months.
The board agreed that the village will look to hold the parade knowing that there is also the possibility the event will be different this year.
“I think it makes sense to be optimistic and hope that this can happen,” said Trustee Peter Grunthal. “If it does happen and we’re fortunate enough for it to happen, that due care is taken in every respect, but at least to start the planning.”
Trustee Karen Schleimer said it would be great to resume one of the most popular events on the village calendar but safety comes first.
“I think there’s no question that we would all love to see it happen, but the safety of everybody, including our fire persons, is critical here,” Schleimer said. “So, I would just like to see what they have in mind and to see if it seems at all doable.”
The board directed the fire department to provide a safety plan as soon as possible to Village Manager Ed Brancati.