Wallingford’s 350th Jubilee Anniversary celebration was edging closer, but the closer it came the reality of the situation become more clear. One way to look at it is that there are few towns on this side of the world that date back to 1670, and that will be just as true in 2021 as 2020.
The reality, of course, is that the coronavirus pandemic has set scores of plans aside, postponed major league sports seasons, scrapped tons of celebrations and put planning in general to the test. It doesn’t seem to matter how important an event is; the pandemic is an equal opportunity canceler.
What a shame that all the plans and preparations leading to Wallingford’s big party have had to be reconsidered. The pride of Wallingford was clearly showing through as residents got ready to celebrate.
But right now, as in so many other endeavors, countering the spread of COVID-19 takes priority. “We all understand the risks right now and agreed to protect the safety of all,” said Bob Devaney, co-chair of the Wallingford 350th Jubilee Committee.
That is the right call. Even as the recent Memorial Day weekend brought stories and photographs of people defying common-sense precautions it remains clear that erring on the side of caution is the way to go forward. It is the antithesis of celebration to put people needlessly at risk.
The jubilee committee took a hard look and recognized that what made sense was to reschedule the celebration for a year down the road. The Jubilee Parade, which will kick off the week of celebration, is now scheduled for June 19, 2021. The celebration had initially been postponed to this September, but the committee recognized that such a big celebration needs to be held when it is safer.
As Christine Mansfield, committee co-chair, noted, the delay allows more time to beat the coronavirus in the community and “ensuring recovery for all.”
It’s an obvious disappointment. There’s no getting around it. But a town that takes great pride in a rich history can now also take pride in decision making that has put safety first. The value of that approach is something we’ve been learning in a profound way these last few months.