PACIFIC COUNTY — Pacific County residents planning on having some fun this summer in north county can remove three more significant events from their planners after the covid-19 pandemic pushed local officials to make tough decisions.
The newest cancellations come on top of others, including the Finnish American Folk Festival in Naselle. Its organizers initially considered delaying it until 2021, but said last week they will skip this two-year cycle altogether and make plans for the festival to resume July 29-31, 2022. When activities and functions are allowed to resume, Finn fest also hopes to hold a series of Saturday cultural events at the Naselle Community Center. To get involved, write nasellefinnfest.com or email the secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pacific County Fair
Pacific County Fair Manager Bill Monohon had been talking for several weeks that he feared the 124th Pacific County Fair would be canceled. He said that time was cracking down, and a lot of the moving pieces were at a standstill.
Monohon met with the Pacific County Commissioners on May 6 after being summoned to discuss whether the fair should be held. He adamantly mentions he went into the meeting already behind on fair donations, fears for his safety and others from the virus, and that there was no guarantee he could attract entertainment anyways.
“So I said those are my constraints, and that’s where we are at,” Monohon said. “I don’t see how we can socially distance anything here, and the chances are we wouldn’t even have a carnival because of the issues with the workforce for them.”
Monohon continued, “then they come back and pretty much said we understand, and we agree. County Risk Manager Kathy Spoor also spoke and said the ‘bottom line this is, where we are at is, we can’t hold a fair this year,’ and I said that I fully support that.”
The only major issue Monohon had with the fair being canceled was the FFA and 4-H members’ livestock auction. He and the commissioners were able to compromise and are planning to hold either an online auction for livestock or a special auction at the fairgrounds with social distancing in place.
Across the Columbia River, organizers also recently announced cancellation of the Clatsop County Fair.
Willapa Harbor Festival
Shortly after Monohon made the decision public, Willapa Harbor Festival Director Michelle Layman announced that this year’s festival would be a no go. Much like Monohon, her decision came due to an inability to assure safety and lack of fundraising due to the pandemic.
“It’s terrible, but it’s kinda just what it is,” Layman said. “The community has entrusted us with finances, and it just didn’t make sense to possibly spend thousands of dollars for things to not happen. We didn’t want to put a bunch of planning into it and then not have vendors.”
Layman continued, “I think everyone is doing pretty much the same thing we are. We all sort of waited to see what the fair was going to do because that was the county. That sort of got the ball rolling.”
Layman did mention that negotiations are ongoing with the City of Raymond to move the festival to the park next to the Northwest Carriage Museum, and she hopes to have it finalized for 2021.
End of summer event called off
The City of South Bend announced just hours after the fair that the summer’s end event, Come and Play on Labor Day, was being canceled, officially putting an end to all the major events held in north Pacific County.
According to Mayor Julie Struck, the reasoning for the cancellation came down to a lack of fundraising ability and the expected additional costs to keep everyone safe. The parade alone during the weekend, which lined most of South Bend on U.S. Highway 101, attracts between 2,500 and 3,000 people.
The most recent of many south county cancellations involves Clamshell Railroad Days, July 18-19
“We are sorry to inform model railroad, train enthusiasts, and museum supporters that the 2020 Clamshell Railroad Days Festival is cancelled. Given the challenges of the covid-19 pandemic and social distancing guidelines, it is not felt that a safe environment for our event can be provided,” organizers said.
“In 2021 we look forward to hosting the Peninsula Model Railroad Club and their guests the Mt. Rainier N-scale club, the PNW On30 Modular club, the Cascade Z Modelers club, and Dean and Donna Mead’s fantastic Lego Train,” organizers said.