The Big Bang on the Bay, an annual event held on July 3 sponsored by John Morris and Boathouse on the Bay, has been canceled this year as the state won’t currently allow the city to permit such events.

“The state allows fireworks, but only if the crowd can be controlled, and how are you gonna control crowds at the Big Bang?” said Morris. “I expected it to be canceled because of the numbers regarding COVID. So it’s no surprise, but it’s still disappointing.”

The state still does not allow large gatherings, including concerts, conventions and other types of shows where crowds would gather.

The event — this would have been the ninth — has drawn big crowds, not only at the Boathouse and its neighboring restaurants, but also in the neighborhoods all around Alamitos Bay and Naples, where many residents have kicked in $500 each year to the fundraiser and used the aerial spectacle for their own private parties at their homes or on their boats.

Besides fireworks, the event has featured vintage aircraft flyovers, skydivers, a sailing regatta, dancing and dinner catered by Naples Rib Company.

Over the years, the event has raised nearly a million dollars for local charities including Ronald McDonald House, Team 100, a local organization that helps feed hungry children in Long Beach schools, 4GIRLS Organization, an empowerment and inspiration organization that gives resources and self-confidence to middle school girls in Long Beach and ASK, a local program that helps keep underserved kids safe through skateboarding.

“Maybe 2021?” said Morris regarding the event’s eventual return. “Or maybe if COVID goes away sooner, we’ll have a Big Bang celebration whenever that happens. But it will be back.”

Tim Grobaty is a columnist and the Opinions Editor for the Long Beach Post. You can reach him at 562-714-2116, email [email protected], @grobaty on Twitter and Grobaty on Facebook.