After a controversial display of a Confederate flag in last year’s Redmond 4th of July parade, organizers are focusing on making this year’s parade a non-political event.
“We’ve clarified some of the rules,” said Sean Neary, president of Redmond Chamber Board of Directors. “In years past it was ‘stay on topic and no profanity.’ We wanted to clarify that this is not a political event. This is family-friendly, inclusive event that’s for the entire community regardless of belief, background. We want to make sure we can all support this. It’s supporting America’s birthday.”
The Redmond Chamber partnered with the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Rotary and Kiwanis clubs to form a Fourth of July Parade Committee to help oversee and implement this year’s parade.
A ban on symbols, banners, flags or statements that be viewed as hateful, offensive or political are in effect.
Examples include the Confederate flag, Pride flags, Black Lives Matter or MAGA symbols or messages.
“No hate symbols. It is easier to say what is permitted: The American flag. The current American flag, properly displayed. Service flags. Service symbols. That’s what we are looking for,” Neary said.
The parade committee added rules requiring participants with floats, trailers or large entries to have people walking alongside them to prevent spectators from running up to the displays, for safety reasons.
“If there’s something that’s not appropriate, maybe a bumper sticker on a truck that’s pulling a float, we’ll ask them to tape that off or remove whatever the offending item is. If it can’t be or the person refuses, the person will be asked to leave. From the conversations we’ve had, we don’t expect a lot of push back in that regard.”
“We fully support the Chamber’s decision to address any issue they perceive needing addressed,” wrote BJ Soper in a People’s Rights Oregon 5 statement. “Problems arose when the committee decided to suggest EXCLUSION of entries the committee deemed necessary in order to create this perceived environment during the parade.”
The Redmond 4th of July parade begins at 10 am on Monday.
It will be followed by an Old Fashioned 4th of July celebration in the High Desert Sports Complex in Redmond from 11 am to 4 pm.