Organizers optimistic for summer events in the Chippewa Valley

Published: Jan. 14, 2021 at 8:15 PM CST
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - The last ten months have been full of cancellations but event organizers are hopeful summer 2021 will be different.

“We miss our fans, we miss our people and we really miss live music,” says Kathy Wright, general manager for Country Jam USA.

Wright says the July festival takes a year to plan and she and her staff have been moving forward as usual.

“We know there will be some non-negotiables and changes we will have to make so we can get started on those and then make contingency plans based on how vaccinations go and what the COVID situation looks like in the summer,” Wright says.

Northern Wisconsin State Fair Director Rusty Volk says he and his staff are planning for a full fair this July but they are prepared to make adjustments if necessary like limiting attendance, reserving seats for shows and requiring masks in some areas.

“You will have more opportunities to wash hands, sanitize, those things will be coming no matter what we do,” he says. " By having a plan in place, if it (COVID-19) is at a high level this is the way we have got to go, if it is at a low risk level we can open up a little more.”

Volk says he has been working closely with the Chippewa County Health Department to discuss how to hold the event safely.

Though the fair was canceled, several events at the Northern Wisconsin State Fairgrounds could continue with adjustments in 2020. The fairgrounds hosted drive-in shows and a socially distanced food festival, events Volk says he can use to help plan a modified fair.

Eau Claire City-County Health Department Director Lieske Giese says in order for events like these to happen, people need to focus on stopping the spread of the virus now, by doing things like continuing to wear masks and social distance.

“The virus will be the same come summer and if we get vaccination levels high and case numbers low we are all hoping to have those events this summer,” Giese says.

Several other large events canceled last summer are scheduled to happen in 2021 including Country Fest, Blue Ox Music Festival and Wisconsin Farm Technology Days.

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