COVID-19 forces ceremony adjustments

SIDNEY — Sidney’s bicentennial opening ceremonies originally planned for Saturday evening have been canceled.

“Even before the extent of the outbreak of the coronavirus was known,” Sidney Mayor and Bicentennial Co-Chair Mike Barhorst said, “we had made the decision to cancel the opening ceremonies. We have had stellar events for the past year, and we simply did not feel that we were ready to showcase the kind of bicentennial ceremonies our community has come to expect.

“We will utilize the ‘I Love Sidney’ campaign essays that both local students and adults have written as part of other events during the year. In addition, those who were going to provide music during the ceremonies will have that opportunity at other events as well,” Barhorst said. “As the situation surrounding the coronavirus outbreak develops, we may have to move additional events, and cancel others.”

One event that is still scheduled is the United States Army Field Band Jazz Ambassadors Concert, scheduled for Friday, April 3, at the Historic Sidney Theatre. The event, underwritten by Victory Machine & Fab, will begin at 7 p.m. with the musicians playing without intermission for 90 minutes. Because of the Jazz Ambassadors’ schedule, it is unlikely that the event could be rescheduled.

“It is not our intent to cancel the concert,” Barhorst said. “If the US Army deems it necessary for the health of their soldier-musicians to cancel, we’ll have no choice. If they travel here and are prepared to play, I certainly plan to be in attendance.”

Also in April, the city of Sidney will host the Southwest Regional Tree City USA Awards program. This year’s event is scheduled to be held at Sidney’s Senior Center (304 S. West Ave., Sidney) on Friday, April 17, beginning at 11 a.m. That event includes communities from the counties in the southwest region of Ohio, and it could be rescheduled to June if it has to be postponed.

Other upcoming events include the Vietnam Traveling Wall, scheduled to be in Sidney May 13-17, the unveiling of the statue of Sergeant Baker (the Union soldier standing atop the Monumental Building keeping silent watch over Sidney), scheduled for May 25, and the Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure, scheduled for June 21-27. That event begins and ends in Sidney.

There are several other events, including the first-ever Mayor’s Breakfast to Benefit the Boy Scouts of America (May 6), the Musical Salute to Sidney (June 7), the Sidney Music & Arts Festival (June 19-20), and of course, the Bicentennial July 4th Fireworks.

“The preplanning that goes into all of these events takes a great deal of time and energy,” Shelby County Commissioner and Bicentennial Co-chair Bob Guillozet said. “We certainly hope that the coronavirus outbreak passes quickly, and we don’t have to adjust the schedule too much.”