The 40th annual walk/run, downtown parade, artisan street fair and fireworks show over Lake Siskiyou have been canceled due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Mount Shasta Fourth of July committee announced “with heavy hearts” Thursday that the town’s annual Independence Day celebration, including the 40th annual walk/run, downtown parade, artisan street fair and fireworks show over Lake Siskiyou have been canceled due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Planned for July 1-4 this year, the celebration lures thousands of people from out of the area to enjoy the race, which was founded in 1980 by the late Dr. Jim Parker. Local businesses depend on the revenue from the week, which is the busiest time of the year for Mount Shasta hotels, restaurants and retail stores.

The committee includes representatives from Mountain Runners, the City of Mt. Shasta, Mount Shasta Chamber of Commerce, and the Mount Shasta Community Fireworks group.

“This difficult decision was made in light of the state’s mitigation efforts for public events under the four-stage plan for lifting the stay-at-home order,” said Justi Hansen, executive director of the Siskiyou Outdoor Alliance.

“It is hard to imagine a Fourth of July in Mount Shasta without the Run/Walk, and we understand the economic and social implications of canceling this generational event,” Hansen said. “Still, public safety must be our number one priority. Rest assured that we are looking at a virtual event option that will allow locals and visitors alike to stay connected to the Run/Walk.”

In the meantime, Hansen said, the committee is working on “creative ways” to support local businesses and community members.

Decisions about the virtual event will be made next week, Hansen added.