Perry Chamber cancels June Friday Fest, Fourth of July activities; Fireworks drive relaunched online

Submitted to The Chief
A float during the 2019 Fourth of July parade. The Perry Chamber of Commerce announced that all 2020 Fourth of July activities, including the parade, have been canceled because of COVID-19 concerns. PHOTO BY ALLISON ULLMANN/THE PERRY CHIEF

Spring event and activity cancellations for the Perry Chamber of Commerce now extend into summer traditions with the June Friday Fest and Fourth of July activities canceled due to continued event and gathering restrictions in place to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. This includes the Fourth of July parade, vendors and activities at Pattee Park, as well as live entertainment at the bandshell.

While the status of an August Friday Fest is still to be determined, the Perry Farmers Market is scheduled to open on Thursday, July 2 at Josh Davis Plaza with some restrictions in place.

Despite activity cancellations, one of Perry’s Fourth of July traditions will continue: the annual fireworks display. Several fundraising initiatives are planned for the month of June, including the rescheduled Big Boom Bracket Battle and Grocery Bill Round-up.

“There really was not a choice when it came to canceling the June Friday Fest and the Fourth of July activities,” said Lynsi Pasutti, Executive Director of the Perry Chamber of Commerce. “But it was important to the Chamber Board to provide some sense of normalcy for the community with the annual fireworks display.”

In a May 26 proclamation, Gov. Kim Reynolds loosened restrictions for outdoor event venues effective June 1 so long as attendance was limited to 50 percent capacity and social distancing of six feet between groups was enforced. Similarly, community events may be held with the same restrictions, but shall continue to be prohibited otherwise. The City of Perry has reopened its parks as of May 29, however no group larger than 10 persons is permitted and restrooms remain closed.

“The public health and safety of the community remains the top priority for community leaders and activity organizers, so while not ideal, cancellation is in the best interest of the general public, and is in-line with many other communities across the state,” Pasutti added.

Observers of the Fourth of July fireworks display will be asked to practice social distancing while watching from various parking lots.

“With springtime fundraising efforts canceled and postponed, it is now crunch time for the fireworks drive,” Pasutti stated. “We have less than a month to raise $12,500 for the annual fireworks display. Although times are tough right now, we are hopeful that the community can pull together to see this tradition carry on. Large donations are always helpful to jumpstart any campaign, but even small donations add up and will be very important this year.”

The Big Boom Bracket Battle, which was to debut back in March, will now relaunch online using the same platform as the Chamber’s Perry Pride Business Booster gift card program: A week of voting with ‘likes’ on Facebook back in March established the “Explosive 8” in an elimination round of 24 nominated community members, all vying for the ultimate prize of a pie in the face for the sake of the 4th of July fireworks drive.

JP Hulgan, Jack Butler, Eddie Diaz, Eric Vaughn, Misty VonBehren, Mark Powell, Cheri Scheib and Emily Leslie, respectively listed in their seeded bracket positions, will go ‘head-to-head’ in three rounds of bracket matchups. The “Firecracker 4” will be announced Friday, June 19 and the “Big Boom Showdown” between the final duo will be announced Friday, June 26.

Advancement in the Big Boom Bracket Battle will be based on monetary donations from the community. Instead of collection jars at various locations, donations in any amount will be accepted online at (be sure to select a name to designate your donation), as well as by mail to the Perry Chamber of Commerce (PO Box 472 with Memo: BBBB and Name of Nominee). Before, the grand finale of the fundraising initiative was to be at the Chamber’s Annual Dinner to coincide with the live pie auction. Now, the friendly competition will likely be broadcasted via Facebook Live, tentatively on Friday, July 3.

The Grocery Bill Round-up which was originally to be held before Memorial Day will now be the week before July 4. Shoppers at Perry’s Fareway and Hy-vee stores will be asked to round up their grocery bills to the nearest dollar or more during the week of Monday, June 29 through Saturday, July 4.

Additionally, other fundraising initiatives are in the works, including collection jars at various businesses, the sale of remaining Sesquicentennial merchandise and possibly a “Quarantine Cookbook.”

For more information on Chamber activities and the various fireworks drive fundraising initiatives, contact the Perry Chamber of Commerce at or (515) 465-4601.