WASHINGTON — A Washington tradition 73 years in the making cannot be stopped by COVID-19.
The Washington Chamber of Commerce will continue to host Ridiculous Days June 4-6 but with a new format this year. In the past, the annual event is held in Central Park and brings in more than 500 people annually said event coordinator Alisha Davis.
“Last year there were a few hundred for sure. That was one of our bigger years that I’ve worked,” she said.
Davis said the annual parade and ducks in the fountain are big draws but due to COVID-19 will not be happening. Instead, the celebration will be mainly virtual with the focus being on supporting local retailers.
“The ducks and the parade really draw people, so this year it’s about focusing on the retailers and helping the small businesses on the square that have been closed,” she said.
Sponsors for Ridiculous Days were very supportive of the decision, she said, as everyone wants to give back to the community in any way possible.
“We put our brains together with the sponsors and came up with ideas,” she said.
Although it would have been easier to just cancel the celebration, Davis said that was not an option. The Washington Community looks forward to the event every year and staff wanted to find a way to continue the tradition safely.
“We decided we had to work with what we’ve been given,” she said, adding when the event was planned a few weeks ago, stores were not allowed to open yet. Now that retailers are allowed to open at 50 percent capacity, it will not be completely virtual like originally planned. “We wanted to make sure we were following restrictions and being as safe as we could so that’s when we started modifying the events to fit the needs of the community and the needs of COVID-19 restrictions.”
Davis said this year a virtual shopping experience will take place with the help of Facebook Live. At 2 p.m. on Thursday, June 4, staff form the Chamber will be going into stores to cover the sales taking place at various retailers. The video also will be posted on the CHamber’s website and various albums of items for sale will be published as well.
“That will be a little different-something we‘ve never done before and are doing just to get the word spread about what is going on,” she said.
The Flight line Live concert that traditionally takes place at the Washington Municipal Airport has been canceled as well and instead live performances will be streamed on the Chamber’s Facebook page, she said.
Sidewalk sales will be taking place on Thursday, Friday and Saturday next week as well, she said, in order to help with social distancing efforts.
A scavenger hunt will take place with guide sheets available from the Chamber. Another tradition that will continue is the tractor parade on Saturday, June 6.
Davis said this year the parade has a longer route and will start and stop at the fair grounds. All bystanders are asked to remain in their vehicles and watch from a safe distance.
”We’re bringing the parade to the community instead of bringing the community to the parade,” she said.
Although Ridiculous Days will be much different this year, Davis said she is glad to see the tradition continue. The Chamber has been discussing a different celebration toward the end of summer when it is safe to open the town once more, but for now, the chamber is doing what they can to keep the tradition alive.
“It’s been fun to find new ways to do things. I’m glad that we’re still playing it safe though,” she said. “I think it’s better to be safe than to do too much.”
The Tractor Parade is open to anyone. Those interested may contact Jerome Vittetoe for more information: 319-430-0797.