Columbia festival day events canceled due to heat; 5 treated at hospital

The Columbia Association announced Thursday, July 21 that daytime events for the 17th annual Columbia International Day, scheduled for Saturday, July 23, have been canceled because of extreme heat.

The festival's evening entertainment, starting at 6 p.m., will still continue as scheduled. The decorated umbrella display that was to accompany the event will be postponed until Friday, August 12, to coincide with the Lakefront Summer Festival presentation of "Tangled," a children's movie.

Columbia International Day is a free festival featuring live music and entertainment, children's activities and international food and crafts vendors. Michelle Miller, director of the Community Services Division at the Columbia Association, said the decision to cancel was made in the interest of safety.

"We want to ensure for public safety that everyone is OK and we don't have any heat-related issues during the day. The stage area is in the sun; it's oppressive," Miller said.

Temperatures in the area approached 100 degrees Thursday and were expected to climb even higher Friday, with heat indexes making conditions feel even worse.

Five people were being treated for heat exhaustion at the emergency room at Howard County General Hospital late Thursday afternoon, according to hospital spokeswoman Sharon Sopp. She did not know if any were going to be admitted to the hospital.

Extreme heat was expected to continue to plague the county and surrounding areas this weekend, with the National Weather Service issuing an excessive heat warning for Saturday, from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m.

Howard County Health Officer Peter Beilenson Wednesday issued a heat alert, extending from 8 a.m. Thursday, July 21 through 8 p.m. Friday, July 22.

The county is currently under an air quality alert and excessive heat warning from the National Weather Service.

The Howard County Health Department reminded residents in need of cooler shelter to visit the county's senior centers, open from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, or Howard County Public Library branches.

Amanda Yeager contributed to this report.

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