Traditional parade canceled due to public health concerns, recorded performances to be showcased in May
CLARK COUNTY — The beloved Hazel Day Parade of Bands has been canceled for a second year, after organizers felt public health concerns due to the pandemic were too high risk.
Unlike last year, however, the Hazel Dell / Salmon Creek Businesses Association and Clark County Fire District 6 have a backup plan. Working with the folks at Music World, they will record performances of each participating school’s band and compile a virtual showcase.
“They can stand out on the football field, or wherever six feet apart. We were debating whether to do it or not, but the majority of the band directors said it kind of gives the kids a goal for this year,” said Fire District 6 Commissioner Brad Lothspeich. “Instead of just showing up and knowing they’re not going to get to go anywhere, at least this way, they’ll know that somebody is going to videotape them and they get to perform.”
Lothspeich said they hope to release the full video compilation in May around the time the parade would normally take place in Hazel Dell. To find the video or reach out to the organizers to possibly include an area band in the effort, contact the association via their website, or reach out to Fire District 6 online or on Facebook.
In their last normal year, Lothspeich said they had some 28 bands participate in the parade, with around 3,500 in total. The Boy Scouts as well as the Sheriff’s Office have been regular attendees too, in a parade that is in it’s 55th year.
“The focus is really on the kids, and it’s for the kids,” Lothspeich said. “We have a committee of probably 15 people that work six months out of the year, to make it happen. Last year, we had about 130 entries. The businesses along the parade route from probably 10 o’clock in the morning till two o’clock in the afternoon, really get shut down and they don’t complain. They know what’s happening. They know what’s coming.”
During a typical parade, there are typically around 4,000 people gathered just at the starting point by the Fire District 6 firehouse on Hazel Dell Avenue, with another 2,000 around the intersection. With the space in those spots, physical distancing that many people is just not possible, Lothspeich said.
While many schools have expressed disappointment from their students, Lothspeich said they understand and he has already had buy in from several schools’ band programs on the virtual performances.
The video will be made from new performances at the schools as well as additional footage of years past videos done by Clark/Vancouver Television (CVTV). The organizers say they are hoping for at least seven or eight bands to record live in the end, and are not limiting it to high schools. Lothspeich said he understands the challenge of getting students who are just coming back to school up to speed to perform though.
“We’re asking who wants to get involved,” he said. “Several of the band directors expressed their desire to do something this year to give the kids a goal for this year. We really wanted to do something this year. The community is ready to do something. We’ll be back next year, and it’ll be big and it’ll be good.”