Limited Pioneer Day celebrations are a go

The annual Pioneer Day celebration in Monticello is a go after a special meeting of the Monticello City Council on July 2.

With a narrow 3-2 vote, the Council decided to move ahead with a limited celebration that will include a parade, softball tournament, vendors, and fireworks. 

After discussion, the Council voted on a motion to move ahead with the celebration.  Nathan Chamberlain, Bayley Hedglin, and Kim Henderson voted for the motion; George Rice and Ron Skinner voted against.

The celebration will move ahead with strong recommendations to minimize risk of exposure to the coronavirus, including a request to respect social distancing, wash hands, ask people with a cough to wear a mask, and encourage visitors to stay away if they do not feel well.

A number of safety measures that will be implemented include sanitizing stations, extra care with food vendors and bathroom cleaning, spreading out events and vendors to discourage large gatherings, and removal of the spectator stands at the ball fields.  Signs will be placed throughout the events to encourage safe behaviors.  

Monticello Recreation Director Shayne Christensen told the council that because of cancellations, the softball tournament is down to ten teams, which is the same size as the 2019 tournament.

Christensen asked the council, “Are we going to police it and ask people to leave?”

Mayor Tim Young responded, “We can encourage, but you can’t police it. People need to be respectful and responsible. We highly encourage people to wear masks.”

Christensen said, “We will do all we can to encourage social distancing.”

The softball tournament will begin on July 24 with a homerun derby at 3 p.m. Play runs from 5 to 10 p.m. on Friday and all day through Saturday, with the championship game roughly at dusk or after the fireworks finish.

A parade will be held but is not likely to be large. The Council discussed possible parade routes and whether or not to allow candy to be thrown.

There was some discussion of a “reverse parade,” with the spectators moving and the entries stationary. The reverse parade did not generate much support.

Fireworks are still planned at the current time, but the council suggested that with the current dry conditions and a statewide fire ban, the city may restrict the use of personal fireworks.

There will be no tractor pull at the annual celebration.

The celebration could change, depending upon state regulations regarding the coronavirus. “If it goes to orange,” said Mayor Young, “the state takes over, and we are pretty much done.”

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