RUTLAND — For the first time in its 70 year history, the Rutland 4th of July Ox Roast has been canceled.
Bruce Davis with the Rutland Volunteer Fire Department explained that the decision is not due to concerns over COVID-19, but due to the shortage and rising cost of the beef needed for Rutland’s famous roast beef, and the unavailability of fireworks.
“It was not an easy choice,” said Davis, adding that there was a lot of discussion which went into the final decision.
Davis explained that the fire department has, for many years, purchased fireworks from a company in Hudson, Ohio, but that the company is not currently in the office to sell the fireworks.
A statement on Sunday from the Rutland Volunteer Fire Department read, “It is with deep sadness that we as members of the Rutland Fire Department had to make the difficult decision to cancel the Rutland 4 of July Ox Roast, and festivities for the year. The reasoning for the event being cancelled is not due to the COVID-19, but is due to shortage, and the cost of the roast beef that we use, and also due to us not being able to order fireworks. Please keep an eye on our Facebook page for further updates, as we are planning on setting up our food stand to sell sandwiches of beef that we have had on hand. We would like to say thank you to all of you for your continued support of our department. We will you all a safe and happy summer.”
While the event is cancelled for 2020, the fire department is working to plan a smaller “Family Fun Day” event which will take place at the fire house. That event will likely include roast beef sandwich sales, popcorn, snow cones, ice cream, and activities. The parade and fireworks will not take place during that event. No date has been announced for the family fun day.
Davis added that the Ox Roast is the biggest fundraiser for the department each year and draws many visitors from near and far to be part of the Independence Day tradition.
For more information about upcoming events for the Rutland Volunteer Fire Department visit them on Facebook.
Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.