- Associated Press - Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Bismarck Tribune, Bismarck, July 9, 2014

Parade organizers made the right call

Mandan knows how to put on a good Fourth of July party. With Rodeo Days, Art in the Park and a road race, the community offers many ways to celebrate Independence Day.

Mother Nature had other plans this year, when stormy weather led to the cancellation of the parade.

Thousands of parade watchers, hundreds of floats and scores of volunteers were in place and ready on Friday morning. That led to much disappointment around the community when the news came that the parade was canceled.

In the past, parade organizers have delayed the parade until rain clears. At times, participants have marched right on through light rain. The deciding factor this year was lightning in the vicinity.

On the social media site where the organizers made their announcement, the people commenting, by and large, were understanding. A few said the parade organizers made the wrong decision.

We believe the organizers made the right call. Public safety must come first.

Police and organizers were in agreement on the decision. If the parade had been delayed, audience members likely would have stayed in the area and not sought shelter.

For those marching in the parade, there are no facilities in the gathering area that could have housed everyone.

If the parade had gone on and someone had been injured due to the storm or due to lightning, the community outcry would have been much louder. Although parade- and candy-loving children may have been disappointed, their parents are surely thankful the children are safe.

One parade organizer speculated that the last time the parade was canceled was in the 1970s. If that is accurate, two cancellations roughly 40 years apart is a good track record.

Even without the parade, Mandan put on a great Fourth of July celebration. By all accounts, Art in the Park, the road race, the rodeos and the fireworks were a success. An unofficial, miniature version of the parade commenced once the weather had cleared.

Mandan still put on a great party.

Parade organizers will surely want to reassess their contingency plans after this year’s cancellation, but they made the right decision with public safety in mind.

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