More local festivals cancelled; fair tentatively still on

The Felix Grundy Days parade marches down the street last year. This year's Felix Grundy festival has been canceled due to COVID-19 concerns. (File photo)
Robert Maharry and Seth McDuffee
The Grundy Register

GRUNDY COUNTY- A fleet of cancellations has swarmed the Grundy Register area recently. As concerns about public health continues, local officials are opting to use caution to protect the ensure the safety of residents as the pandemic continues to affect the world.


Monday, May 18, the Festival Board of Directors voted to cancel the Felix Grundy Festival this year. In a statement released on Tuesday, they expressed that they had “delayed the decision as much as possible, but due to financial obligations,” they were required to make the tough call.


“Never did we expect this event to be cancelled due to a pandemic,” Mindy Greany, Chair of the Planning Committee, said. “We cannot in good faith gather so many of our friends, family members, and neighbors over the July weekend based on current information. The uncertainly also makes the planning process nearly impossible.”


The committee statement explained that they are currently in the process of contacting vendors, sponsors, and entertainers to ensure financial obligations are honored.


On Wednesday, May 13, the Dike city council made a decision as part of their regular monthly meeting to cancel their annual Watermelon Days, an event normally taking place in early August each year. Mayor Mike Soppe commented via phone as to their ruling.


“It is just such a draw, that people come from all over the country,” Soppe said, “…we want to keep people safe in this tough time.”


Dike will still be holding fireworks to go off as planned so that area residents can still enjoy a portion of the festivities, however there will be no vendors available. Soppe indicated that they were making the decision to allow more time for people to adjust their plans accordingly.


There’s so much planning that goes into it,” he continued, “People travel from all over, and are booking flights and making arrangements. We wanted to give them the most amount of time that we could.”


In Wellsburg, the Community Club Board released a statement on Tuesday via their Facebook stating that Wellsburg Daze, originally slated for June 6-9, would be postponed.


“We are going to continue to monitor the situation,” the Club Board post said, “to see if we can hold this celebration later in summer.”


This all comes off of the heels of nearby Butler County canceling their fair. The uncertainty of the future has caused many summer celebrations to take a hit, and others to delay in making a decision without further information. But for many city officials and local government workers, the benefits outweigh the risks


“We want everyone to stay safe,” Soppe said, “there’s guidelines set for us for how many people can get together… We want people to abide by those rules, but still have fun. I think there will be plenty of opportunities where we can do a little of both.”


Currently, the Grundy County Fair Board is still doing everything in its power to hold the event in late July of this year, according to President Jared Gutknecht. He specifically hopes to prioritize 4-H exhibits for youth and showcase the newly installed grandstand at the fairgrounds. The fair board is also monitoring the decisions made regarding the Iowa State Fair, which is typically held in August.


“It’s a great time for everybody to get together, but we want to be safe. The more time we get, the more knowledge we get and the better decision we can make,” Gutknecht said. “Right now, everything’s still open for business… We’ve just kind of got to play by the rules to keep everybody safe.”


The Grundy Register

601 G. Avenue - P.O. Box 245
Grundy Center, IA 50638
Telephone: 1-319-824-6958
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