Baby contest will be online, but no parade, carnival or fireworks this year

It was a choice no one wanted to make, but the Smyrna-Clayton Fourth of July parade, carnival and fireworks have been canceled because of coronavirus restrictions.

However, the baby contest will take place online.

“We waited until the last possible minute to make our decision,” said Robert Merrill, a director on the Smyrna-Clayton July 4th Foundation board.

Sometimes because of rain or the threat of a thunderstorm, one part of the celebration had to be canceled or postponed such as the parade or the fireworks.

"This is the first time I can remember the entire celebration being canceled,” said Merrill, who's volunteered on the foundation for 48 years.

One concern of the foundation members was possible financial penalties from the fireworks company if the foundation didn’t give enough notice before canceling.

“Fortunately our fireworks company has been very good to us and waived any penalties,” Merrill said.

To discuss options, the officers and directors of the foundation had to hold a virtual meeting on computers and phones with a representative from the fireworks company.

Another concern was the need to give potential parade participants a decision one way or the other so that the organizations, businesses and individuals would be notified before making preparations for the parade such as building a float or making decorations.

“No one wanted to use the word ‘cancel’ as we tried to find ways to keep the celebration alive,” said Merrill. “But once we read the directive from the State of Delaware stating that gatherings of over fifty people would not be allowed, and social distancing would have to be maintained, it was clear that the celebration would have to be canceled.”

Baby contest still on

The baby contest will be online, using photos that parents or guardians submit, according to contest chairperson Tracy Ayala.

Age groups are 0-3 months, 3-6 months, 6-9 months, 9-12 months, 1 year, 2 years and 3 years.

"So capture those babies and children at their cutest moments," Ayala said.

Participants aren’t required to dress in red, white and blue; however, there is a “most patriotic” award in each age group.

Entries must include the child’s photo, child’s name, date of birth, the name of the parent or guardian and a contact phone number.

Email entries to smyclaybabycontest@gmail.com by July 1.

Plans are to publish the photos of the winners and possibly the participants on the Facebook page of the July 4th Foundation.

Winners will be determined July 3 and posted July 4.

The parent or guardian will receive a phone call if the child has won. Ribbons will be awarded.

Volunteers needed with fundraising projects

The foundation is a nonprofit group that raises funds and organizes not only the Smyrna-Clayton Fourth of July celebration but also the St. Patrick’s Parade in Smyrna and the Christmas Parade in Clayton.

One of the foundation's biggest fundraisers is placing small American flags in front of homes and businesses in exchange for a donation before Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Veterans Day. Foundation members and volunteers put up the flags and then remove them and store them for the next holiday observance.

For information on making a donation or helping with the project, call 653-6235 or see the foundation’s Facebook page, "The Smyrna/Clayton July 4th Foundation, Inc."