For the first time since World War II, the Edmonds Chamber of Commerce is canceling its annual “An Edmonds Kind of Fourth” of July celebration.
The chamber said that given the current coronavirus response and Gov. Jay Inslee’s phased reopening plan, it will not be possible for the estimated 18,000 Edmonds residents and participants to enjoy the annual Independence Day event, which includes a parade and fireworks show.
It’s also possible that the annual Taste Edmonds event, a major chamber of commerce fundraiser held each August, may be canceled due to COVID-19 social distancing restrictions.
“It pains us to announce the cancellation of our beloved 4th of July celebration.” said Greg Urban, President & CEO of the Edmonds Chamber. “This community celebration has been a signature event for the Edmonds Chamber since 1907. It has always served as a point in time where we all connect, come together and show pride in our city and nation. Many recall attending as a kid, bringing their own children and eventually their grandchildren to the parades and events,” Urban said.
As a community nonprofit organization, the chamber is also facing financial realities, Urban said. In addition to the July 4th celebration, the chamber puts on myriad popular community events, including Taste Edmonds, the Edmonds Car Show, Halloween Trick-or-Treat, the Tree Lighting Ceremony and the Clam Chowder Cook-off.
The Edmonds Chamber is funded primarily in two ways: First, through annual memberships from local Edmonds businesses and some non-business “family” memberships. And second, through events like Taste Edmonds, which is the chamber’s primary source of revenue each year.
Many businesses, feeling the crush of either closing their doors at this time or operating with less revenue, have not been able to afford their membership dues and membership revenues are expected to steeply decline in the coming months, Urban said. With the cancellation of the Edmonds Kind of 4th and potentially Taste Edmonds in August, the 113-year-old chamber will no longer have the necessary funds to maintain operations and keep the small staff of three going.
In addition to sponsoring events, the chamber provides business advocacy and networking programs for local business owners. It also gives back to the community directly channeling nearly $400,000 to local vendors and service providers, in addition to donations to other non-profits such as Boys & Girls Club, Edmonds-Woodway High School, Edmonds Lions Club, Edmonds Kiwanis and many others.
“The Edmonds Chamber has been a longtime supporter of Edmonds-Woodway High School with the annual Waste Warriors effort at Taste Edmonds,” said Kelsey Foster, 2020 graduation party co-chair. “The students and parents volunteer for three days of hard work picking up trash and in return, receive a donation to help fund the safe and sober graduation party. Possibly losing one of the biggest fundraisers for next year’s Class of 2021 graduation party will be tough to recover from.”
You can support the chamber by joining as a non-business/individual member. Your membership helps ensure the future of large community events and annual traditions by keeping the Edmonds Chamber in place. The chamber notes that even your dog can join — to date there are two canine members.
The cost for an annual individual membership is $125, and it can be paid annually, quarterly or monthly. Click here to join.
You can also make a direct donation of support at the Edmonds Chamber website.