Box Car Days derailed

THE GRAND PARADE, which features the Tracy Area High School marching band, is a Box Car Days can’t-miss event. However, residents from near and far will have to wait until next year to see the band and all the other parade entrants make their way through the city. Tracy Area Headlight Herald file photo

Fearing an impact on the start of the school year, festival committee votes to cancel this year’s event

By Per Peterson

BOX CAR DAYS is a Tracy tradition that dates back to the 1920s. This year, however, 3rd St. won’t be packed with people as it was in this photo, circa 1950. Tracy Headlight Herald file photo

The din of the midway.

Shouts of “bingo!” from a lucky winner echoing from behind the Eagles Club.

The anticipation, from young and old alike, of a 1 p.m. sharp start of the grand parade.

The lure of the Lion’s stand.

All these things and so much more will be only a memory this Labor Day weekend in Tracy, as the Box Car Day Committee on Monday morning decided to cancel this year’s beloved town festival because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tracy Area Chamber of Commerce Director Lexi Erickson told the Tracy Area Headlight Herald Monday morning that only the Miss Tracy Scholarship Program will take place this year.

“It is with heavy hearts and after much deliberation that the Box Car Days Committee has decided to cancel BCD 2020,” Erickson wrote in a text to the Headlight. “With the community’s health in mind and the possibility of the school year being affected by having a Labor Day celebration, we have decided to cancel.”

Tracy Mayor Tony Peterson said it’s unfortunate the event won’t happen this year. He said between the pandemic and the ongoing street project that has now moved into the downtown area, pulling off BCD this year would’ve been tough. He said all things considered, the committee made the right decision.

“It’s just the times we live in,” he said. “I can see it from both sides of the coin. I’m just glad we didn’t have to get in the weeds about what they can do and can’t do — they needed to make sure everyone knew what the restrictions were, and I just wondered how they were gonna pull it off.”

The Miss Tracy program will be live-streamed (more information is coming on that event).

Erickson said any business that donated toward this year’s celebration can have their donation refunded. If you would like to apply the money to next year’s celebration, Erickson asks that you contact her.

BCD Committee member Jay Fultz called the decision to cancel the four-day event this year “extremely tough” and essentially came down to the kids.

“We can’t get the carnival — the state is not issuing the permits to allow the carnival to come,” Fultz said. “We had already nixed the bingo stand because you just can’t physical distance that, and the inflatables, which were a huge hit last year — there’s no way to really keep those sanitized and keep the kids safe. So we don’t have really any events for the kids.”

Then there’s the upcoming school year to consider, Fultz said. Holding a festival so close to the beginning of the school year presents potential safety issues. Fultz said if school started today, Tracy Area Public Schools would be in a hybrid learning situation, per the state’s recommendation that county data be measured by the number of COVID-19 cases per 10,000 over 14 days, by county.

See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.