Northwest Fourth-Fest in Hoffman Estates shelved for 2nd straight year
Hoffman Estates officials have canceled the village's Northwest Fourth-Fest around the Fourth of July for a second consecutive year due to the lingering COVID-19 pandemic.
However, they are tentatively planning for the village's traditional Summer Sounds on the Green outdoor concert series to start as early as mid-July in spite of some trustees' preference to cancel existing contracts up to early August.
Despite a variety of opinions on the subject, village board members voted unanimously to cancel all Hoffman Estates' special events through mid-July and consider the rest of the year at that time.
A potential decision on the entirety of 2021 had been delayed a month in hopes that growing numbers of vaccinated people would allow more special events to go forward. But COVID-19 hospitalizations have spiked.
"Right now our health metrics are going the wrong way," Deputy Village Manager Dan O'Malley told the board.
Among the reasons for canceling Northwest Fourth-Fest in April was to save some preparation costs on an event that might not happen anyway. Another risk was the possibility Hoffman Estates would play host to the only Fourth of July festival in the region.
"We would be mobbed, absolutely mobbed," Mayor Bill McLeod said.
The fireworks and parade were canceled as well as the carnival outside the village-owned Now Arena.
The challenge of monitoring social distancing and mask compliance in every parking lot from which the fireworks could be seen was cited as a reason.
But Trustee Gary Pilafas suggested the same fireworks could be used at Platzkonzert Germanfest if that event goes forward in mid-September.
Trustee Karen Arnet said a summer parade in which all participants and spectators would be required to wear masks in hot, humid weather might also present a risk for some.
Though the outdoor concert series is stated to start in mid-July and continue into September, trustees suggested as many dates as necessary might still be canceled if such events remain unsafe or out of compliance with state regulations.