LONGVIEW, Wash. (KOIN) — Organizers behind a planned Fourth of July event in Cowlitz County said they are moving forward with it despite statewide COVID-19 restrictions.
On Wednesday, the City of Longview denied the application for the two-day gathering called “We The People” taking place at Lake Sacajawea. The event — which organizers said could draw 10,000 people — is slated to feature a kid’s parade, talent show, classic car show, food vendors and a concert from country music star Lee Greenwood.
On July 5, the event will put on a community worship service and event clean-up. One of We The People’s backers Larry Wood said they want the right to celebrate like they’ve done for 75 years. The Go4th Festival announced it was cancelled back in May.
Organizers are encouraging social distancing and asking people to stay home if they are sick for the event.
“This is one group of patriots who are going to stand up and we are not going to take it anymore,” Wood said. “It’s the church, it’s conservatives and we just want fair and equal treatment under the law.”
City leaders say they’ve talked with organizers to discourage them from having the event but the organizers are determined to follow through with it.
“We support peoples First Amendment rights,” Longview City Manager Kurt Sacha said. “We feel this clearly crosses the line. This is more in line with a celebration.”
In Washington state, large gatherings are still prohibited under Governor Jay Inslee’s re-opening orders. Cowlitz County is currently in Phase 2 of Washington’s reopening plans where gatherings of more than five people are banned.
“There is time to flatten the curve and I am all about that but that time is waning,” Wood said. It’s time to go back to the liberties we were born with.”
Wood along with other supporters peacefully gathered near Lake Sacajawea to rally for their first amendment rights on Wednesday evening.
“Bottom line, we are truly are concerned for the health, welfare and safety of the community,” Sacha said.