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July 4 blast axed?

Need a refuge from all the festive fun planned for the Fourth of July weekend?

Then come to downtown Sunnyside, it will be quiet here this Fourth of July weekend.

Yes, there will be fireworks, as usual.

But there will be no music, no festivities, no games and, presumably, no crowds in downtown that weekend.

It looks to be so quiet that a popular downtown event during past Fourth of July celebrations, the Soapbox Derby, has been moved to Sunshine Days this September to draw more spectators and entrants.

Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce Director Mary Ann Bonny was mum on the subject of an un-festive Fourth.

She said the Chamber has no plans for the Fourth of July.

As to why the Chamber is staying out of Fourth of July festivities, Bonny's only comment was, "Call city hall."

Assistant City Manager Mark Kunkler was puzzled by the response.

"I'm just not aware of any change or status in procedure (for holding events)," he said. "Typically the Fourth of July program has been driven by private individual groups, involving the chamber with other community sponsors."

Kunkler confirmed that no requests have been submitted for a July 4 event.

"We'd be prepared to work with any program," he said. "There's been no change in policy, no cost, no permit fee."

He noted that a typical festival or event request for downtown or for Central Park, for example, involves asking for a street closure. "We look for ways to make it happen," Kunkler added.

He said a request should be submitted to city hall at least 30 days before the event is scheduled to take place.

But there are exceptions.

"We have processed applications that were submitted closer to the event," Kunkler said.

With this shaping up to be an untypical Fourth, is there a possibility the city itself may step into the void?

"It has not been talked about. The city has never been part of the community planning group," said Kunkler. "We typically let the chamber and the private service groups take care of that."

Kunkler did concede that the apparent cancellation of Sunnyside's Come Back to the Country Fourth of July celebration is "...something we could take a look at." He added, "What I can do is certainly talk with Bob (City Manager Bob Stockwell) and see if the council will consider the Fourth of July at the next council meeting," he added. "Council may be interested."

In one sense, the Fourth of July is already on the next council agenda for Monday, June 12, as discussion will take place on the fireworks program.

"Council always has the ability to promote something," Kunkler said. "I'd love to see something happen."

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