North Country Fair 2020 cancelled

Richard Froese
South Peace News

The popular North Country Fair near High Prairie planned for June 2020 has been cancelled to prevent risk and spread during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“It is with heavy hearts that we must inform you of our decision to postpone our fair until 2021,” says Colin Ross, president of the Lesser Slave Lake North County Community Association.
“With all that is happening globally in regards to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have had to make the sad decision to keep all involved safe and not offer our festival for people to gather during this summer.”
He says the decision was made to protect everyone.
“It has become evident to us that although there may be a tempering of the rate of infection, it would be foolhardy for us to attempt to hold a large gathering and put people at potential risk,” Ross says.
The announcement was posted April 20 on the fair website to update information on the event planned for June 19-21.
First held in 1979, the fair has been in Driftpile Valley since 2007.
“We look forward to seeing, laughing and dancing with all of you at North Country Fair 2021,” Ross says.
“The North Country Fair has, over the last 41 years, survived flood, fire, loss of fair sites and political interference, only to be stopped by something to small to be seen without a microscope.”
Organizers have kept a watchful eye over the COVID concern.
“We have been monitoring the COVID-19 situation closely since January with the hope that it might subside by the time the North Country Fair rolled around,” Ross says.
“Our artistic director has been in weekly meetings will all other western Canada artistic directors and the general consensus was to either cancel or postpone until next year.”
The possibility that the fair would not be allowed by Alberta Health Services was a reality, he notes.
Alternative dates later in summer or early fall were considered, but organizers faced too many unknowns and obstacles to overcome.
“It takes most of the year to organize a festival of our size and it is not a simple thing to just postpone it until a later date,” Ross says.
“Had we decided to continue, only to be cancelled at the last minute, we would also be faced with a substantial financial loss.”
The event has attracted several thousand people each year.
“We have thousands of loyal fans who eagerly look forward to our summer solstice celebration,” Ross says.
“For many, it’s a chance to gather and celebrate with friends that they may only get to see during this time.”
Organizers are grateful for all those who have supported the event over the years.
“First of all, we thank all of our 500-plus volunteers who work so hard to throw the best solstice party every single year.
“We could not do any of it without you.
“We hope you remain safe and in good health until you can do it again.
“We thank all the musicians and artists who have entertained us over the years and brought smiles to our faces.
“We look forward to an amazing line-up in 2021.
“We express gratitude to all of our loyal fair attendees for the past 41 years.
“Many wonderful memories have been made over the years and many more will be made in the future.
“We really are all in this together.”
For those who pre-purchased tickets, stay tuned to your inbox regarding ticket purchases.

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