Troy’s annual Old Fashioned 4th of
July celebration cancelled for 2020
By Brian Baxter
Recently, the board of Troy’s Chamber of Commerce reluctantly, but necessarily, made the tough decision to cancel their large annual event, Troy’s Old fashioned 4th of July.
President of the Troy Chamber and Director of the event, Susie Taylor, explained in a document issued recently how the decision came about. The City of Troy is not responsible for the 4th of July celebration, nor does funding from the City pay for the event. Taylor further stated that the City does support the Chamber in their efforts and they do donate many hours of labor and equipment, which is much appreciated.
Taylor explained that the board members including herself as President, Vice President Tearsa Kidwell, Secretary Chera Cole, and Treasurer Sharee Miller, had agreed that the decision boiled down to two main things. First, the number one duty in putting on this celebration is ensuring public safety and health. One attendee with Coronavirus would be disastrous to the community. Second, if they were to proceed with planning and buy fireworks this year without having the large gathering that funds their purchase, they would bankrupt the celebration for future years.
Additional problems the Chamber board mentioned included delivery of fireworks; expenditure of seven to ten thousand dollars; potential necessity to store fireworks if not used under Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms regulations; possible phase two rules of 50 people group limits, or even phase three rules of 150 people group limits; plus potential 14-day mandatory quarantines for out of state visitors, and many other financial and Health Department challenges.
When Taylor reached out to Michele Cushman with the Dept. of Commerce regarding this year’s event grants, Cushman responded that at this time the Governor of Montana is looking at reallocating those special funds to current emergencies, so there will not be any available event funds for the year 2020 at this time.
Finally, the Troy’s Chamber Board and Director Taylor said, “We did not want to put a damper on the businesses we support and rely on for our event, knowing we might possibly lose the money we invest if we are not in the phase that allows us to have the event safely.” For a copy of the document, contact Susie Taylor at susie@troymt chamber.org.
With all that the City of Troy has survived in its past, it will also survive these times and we will look forward to a great event next year. Stay safe. Of course, all of us in the area will be optimistically looking forward to this historical celebration of July 4th in 2021.
Top: Spectators lining the streets of downtown Troy for the annual Old Fashioned 4th of July parade. Photo courtesy of Troy Chamber of Commerce.
Bottom: Event attendees enjoy playing with giant bubbles during last year’s 4th of July festivities at Roosevelt Park. Phot by Tracy McNew, The Montanian.
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By the time Irene had opened up her now iconic Loveless Realty in 1990, a lifetime had passed: she now had grandchildren, her hot temper had mostly faded, and her husband had passed away. But with the grief, and its haunting empty weight, there also came an expanded family found in the community. She joined and served in the Rotary Club, on the Board of Fire, at Achievements, the Eagles, the VFW, and in Kiwanis. To her, these were not simply organizations and fancy titles or positions, these were groups of people: people whom she could love and serve and take care of. People who over and over, in interview after interview, have called her family, a grandmother, or a pillar of the community. Irene did not see the Libby as just city limits filled with businesses and streets, but as something composed of real people who were important to her. As she pointed out herself, Libby is “not simply a place, it is the people that make Libby special.” This power to look for and find the individual people in a crowd, in a place, is what makes Irene stand apart.
Ultimately, isn’t that what makes a place special? The person who gave you the memories of that space, a family member or friend or even a kind stranger? When Irene finally retired on March 31, the Loveless Realty building became Tamarack Realty where Irene’s longtime friends and associates John Ague and his daughter, Dejon Raines, took over. They are not simply continuing a business or keeping a building, they are inhabiting a place full of warm memories. For Raines, working with Irene for the last 15 years, and now taking care of the same building in her own enterprise, has been a dream come true. Ever since she was a small child, Raines would visit her dad at work, stare out the big window at the mountains, and dream of when she could someday join Irene. Loveless Realty was not just a place where houses and properties were sold, it was a family: one that cared for each other, celebrated birthdays, and would always provide a shoulder to rest on. A place, a name, an occupation had become so much more than what they were because of Irene.
When parts of life change—friends leave, years pass, or places transform—it can be hard to remember that still so much stays the same. As her close friend Hazel Halsey put it, Irene “never lost her rearview mirror.” She never forgot where she came from or those she met on her journey through life. Irene might have retired, but she will still be planning trips to Cancun with her son Dennis, enjoying the sweet Montanan breeze off Flathead Lake, and finding people to love and care about.
By Tyler Whitney, The Montanian