HOISINGTON — Monday afternoon, the Hoisington Chamber of Commerce Labor Day committee announced big changes to the 2020 weekend long celebration. In addition to canceling the 124th Annual Labor Day Parade, several other activities were canceled in an effort to curb the rise of positive cases of COVID-19. Among them, the following events have been canceled: Community BBQ & Beer Garden, Carnival, KIDSTOP activities at the Activity Center, Downtown Street Market, Demolition Derby and Street Dance.
“The current COVID-19 pandemic has had many in our community wondering about the status of Hoisington’s Labor Day Celebration. As a board we have been monitoring the outbreak and are working with our local authorities to make the most informed decisions possible,” HCC Executive Vice President Karen Baldyga wrote in a letter that went out to Friends of the Hoisington Labor Day Celebration on Tuesday.
The committee is planning new social distancing events instead. Announcements of these events will be made through the Chamber in the weeks to come, the letter states. The celebration is scheduled for Friday through Monday, Sept. 4-7.
“I can assure you that none of the decisions made were easy ones. As a board, we want to make sure we are doing what is in the best interest of our community. One of our top priorities is protecting the health, safety and well-being of the community,” Baldyga stated.
The decision comes on the heels of the cancellation of the Kansas State Fair earlier in July, and action taken Monday night by the Great Bend City Council to cancel the Party in the Park, scheduled to have occurred August 8. Other area events, including the Barton County Fair and Ellinwood’s After Harvest Festival, also saw many events canceled that would have encouraged the gathering of high numbers of individuals. Some alternative events were virtual or were held in settings that allowed for greater social distancing.
Comments on social media varied Tuesday. At Hoisington’s Annual Labor Day Celebration Facebook page, most were in agreement with the decision, while elsewhere, like the Support Your Local Barton County Sheriff page, comments expressed more disappointment with the decision.