With Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's recent announcement to start loosening COVID-19 restrictions, city officials and representatives of Rome Rotary Club are bringing back the Honor America Days celebration and CanalFest this summer.
Mayor Jacqueline M. Izzo and Rome Area Chamber of Commerce President William K. Guglielmo said the Honor America Days Pops Concert and fireworks will be presented at 8 p.m. Saturday, July 31, on the lawn of Fort Stanwix National Monument.
"With last week's announcement of the loosening of state coronavirus restrictions, we have been working diligently to revive the Pops Concert and fireworks," said Izzo. "Symphoria returns as our presenting orchestra to be followed by a patriotic fireworks show."
The city is also working with Rome Art Association on a porch decorating contest event open to the entire community. Izzo said details will follow.
"Unfortunately, the short timeframe does not allow us enough lead time to properly plan the annual parade, but the parade will return bigger and better than ever in 2022," the mayor said.
As for this summer's festivities, "We have already had a great response from local businesses anxious to assist us financially, and we will continue our fund-raising efforts to make all this come together by the end of next month," Izzo and Guglielmo said.
Meanwhile, Stephen Mercurio, president of Rome Rotary Club, said the lifting of all COVID-19 restrictions for outdoor gatherings was the single largest impediment standing in the way of the Rotary holding its annual CanalFest event Aug. 6-8.
Mercurio said local residents can once again take part in the three days of fun in Bellamy Harbor Park.
Ontario Rides will be back with its colorful midway; there will be entertainment on the City Stage; and Chimos Catering will provide a variety of fun foods including fried dough, burgers, fries, pizza and ice cream, Mercurio said.
Gates will open at 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 6, and there will be fireworks at sunset. On Saturday, Aug. 7, area fishers are encouraged to get their fishing gear out as the Rotary holds its annual Fishing Derby from 8-11:30 a.m., along with prizes for Biggest Game Fish (bass, walleye, northern pike) and Biggest Non-Game Fish (perch, bullhead and carp).
Fisherfolk under the age of 12 can register their catches for the “Lucky Fish” Drawing. See the Rotary's Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/RomeRotary/, for details.
There will also be entertainment, rides, vendors, face painting, storytelling and culinary delights until dark, with a fireworks show at dusk. The park closes at 10 p.m. and will re-open Sunday for fun from noon to 5 p.m.
"We will end with the announcement of the CanalFest '21 50/50 raffle winner," Mercurio said.
CanalFest is a non-smoking, non-alcoholic beverage event. Non-vaccinated attendees will be requested to wear masks in compliance with state health guidance.
Attendance is free, but Rotarians will be at the gates to receive voluntary donations ($1 suggested). All proceeds from the event go back to the community over the year in the form of Rotary donations and community service projects.