PEORIA, Ill. (WYZZ) — UPDATE: The biggest fireworks celebration in Illinois is now on hold.
Red, White, and Boom usually brings in nearly 200,000 people. Due to COVID-19, City leaders say a gathering of that magnitude just isn’t possible.
“I cannot in good faith, spend one dime or support, any type of event fourth of July,” said East Peoria Mayor John Kahlf.
Kahls says aside from the public safety hazard the event would bring, his city is in no shape to host an event like Red, White, and Boom financially.
“We’re going to have a 5.4 million dollar shortfall due to loss of revenue,” Kahl said.
The event has been a staple of Fourth of July celebrations in Illinois for more than 30 years, but Midwest 360’s Mike Wild says public safety comes first.
“We hate to make a decision like this, but honestly, it’s not that much of a decision. The Governor strongly suggested all big events this summer be cancelled,” Wild said.
Normally hundreds of thousands of people come to the event, meaning this year hotels and eateries will take hits to their bottom lines.
Enjoy Peoria CEO JD Dalfonso says all hope is not lost for business owners.
“It’s such a prideful event. The great thing is, right now it’s postponed, not canceled. That’s good. It simply suggests the economic impact won’t be lost, just delayed,” Dalfonso said.
Dalfonso says this pandemic could change the way cities and event centers host events in the future.
“Louisville Slugger for example, is looking forward to what paramaters they’ll have to put in place. They’re looking forward to investing in safety provisions. Whether that’s new increased hand sanitizers, new operations to decrease lines,” Dalfonso said.
Dalfonso says next week is ‘Travel and Tourism Week.’ Enjoy Peoria will have experts coming together to talk about tourism in central Illinois and the economic impact it has on our cities.
Red White and Boom will not be held on July 4 this year, but it has not been officially canceled yet.
Event organizers Midwest 360 made the decision to postpone the event due to the governor’s recommendation to not hold large events through the summer to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Organizers say they still hope to reschedule the event for later this year, but if it is canceled they plan to come back bigger and better next year.
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