Good afternoon Fitchburg,
It always begins the same way year after year, and brings chills to my spine time and time again. Blue lights and sirens begin to clear the way of the streets, the rolling thunder of the Fife and Drum Corps lead in, and the sounds of fire engines to follow. Civic Days 2020 would have marked the sixtieth year of Fitchburg celebrating our beloved 4th of July events. Created in 1960 by Mayor George Bourque, Fitchburg Civic Days is one of the City’s oldest traditions celebrating the week of the 4th of July. Civic Days events brings together not only the residents of Fitchburg, but thousands of people across the region join in celebrating Independence Day through a series of family-oriented cultural events including the annual 4th of July Parade, the Amazing Duck Race, Fireworks, Cannon Firing and the Downtown Block Party.
Although most events have been canceled this year the Civic Days Committee is a team of optimists. They will proudly continue their “reignited” Cannon Firing on the morning of July 4th at 5:30am on the top of Rollstone Hill. They have also rescheduled our fireworks show, and they will proudly be fired off during Fitchburg High School’s first home football game of the season – September 25, 2020 at 9pm, with a rain date of October 2, 2020. Also, FATV will be airing this years’ cannon firing and previous years’ Civic Days festivities on this Saturday beginning at 8:00am – make sure to tune in!
On behalf of the Civic Days Committee, we would like to thank all of our sponsors for their support, not just for Civic Days 2020, but for all the years they have been a partner of ours. It takes a tribe of community believers to make Civic Days happen, and every year they have stepped up to the plate. I would like to recognize the Fitchburg Redevelopment Authority, Fitchburg State University, Mass Cultural Council, AIS, Rollstone Bank, Enterprise Bank, IC Federal Credit Union, Gold Bowl, Re-Imagine North of Main, Leominster Credit Union, Unitil, Massachusetts Military History Expo, FATV, and Len Brassard’s Family Martial Arts Center – thank you for your support!
Finally I would like to recognize the Civic Days Committee who have put a significant effort into producing great events every year: Diane and Ray Burnette, David Ginisi, Nate LaRose, Marissa Monteiro, and A.J. Tourigny.
After nearly 45 years of commitment and service to the City, I want to personally thank Fitchburg Fire Chief Kevin Roy for his exemplary service and dedication to our city. He has answered the call to serve his community and the men and women of his department well. On behalf of the City of Fitchburg, we wish him and his family the very best of wishes on this exciting next step. Best wishes and thank you, again, Chief Roy, for your unparalleled contributions and dedication to your profession and to the City of Fitchburg,
Beginning on July 1, I have appointed Deputy Chief Anthony Marrama as the Acting Chief of the Fitchburg Fire Department. Also beginning July 1, retired Fire Chief Roy will be serving as the Supervisor to assist in the transition of the functions and duties of the Chief of the Fitchburg Fire Department, until July 26, 2020. Additionally, I have submitted the appointment of Acting Chief Marrama to the City Council as the Fire Chief, for their confirmation.
As of 1pm today, there have been a total of 794 positive COVID-19 cases in Fitchburg, of which 685 are now recovered, and there have been 68 deaths attributed to COVID-19. It must be noted that this represents those individuals who have died and were positive for the virus, but official death record numbers may vary as COVID-19 may not be the official cause of death.
I am also excited to announce that today will be the Outdoor Fitchburg Farmers’ Market Kick-Off! With a little help from the Fitchburg Public Library and Growing Places, you can stop by the Library parking lot to get your favorite produce for this weekend’s festivities. The Farmers Market begins at 3pm and closes at 6pm. Please remember to wear a mask – the safety of attendees and vendors are our highest priority!
As we move forward into this long weekend, I am reminded by John Adams famously writing to his wife Abigail, after the Second Continental Congress voted to declare independence on July 2, with the Declaration of Independence being adopted on July 4:
“The second day of July 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”
Although COVID-19 has prevented the Fitchburg community to celebrate the 4th of July as we traditionally would, it does not stop us from reflecting on our American independence from the British monarchy.
Happy 4th of July Fitchburg from my family to yours,
Mayor Stephen L. DiNatale