The Glasgow Courier - Serving Proudly As The Voice Of Valley County Since 1913

By Gwendolyne Honrud
The Courier 

Fair Concert Canceled

Chamber Places Health Above Profit

 


“We did not take it lightly.” The decision by the Glasgow Area Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture, in conjunction with their partners from the Rodeo Committee and Milk River Motorsports, to cancel this year’s fair concert was a tough one said Executive Director Lisa Koski.

Milk River Motorsports and the Rodeo Committee had already canceled their evening events scheduled for this year’s Northeast Montana Fair. With no demolition derby or rodeo planned, the Chamber decided to also cancel the Diamond Rio concert, scheduled to conclude the fair on Aug. 1.

“We did have some people with really good ideas on how to implement social distancing for the concert, but trying to make it work with 1,200 to 1,300 people was too much,” Koski explained. “Bottom line is social distancing doesn’t work with live music and alcohol.”

Committee members fielded ideas such as using cattle guards to create pods limited to 50 people in order to adhere to local health officials’ guidelines on public events, but policing and enforcing those guidelines would create insurmountable strain on the volunteers who work so hard to bring quality events to Valley County. Koski explained their difficult decision, “I didn’t perceive that it would be as much fun, especially with the other events already canceled.”

Koski noted that she has created three COVID-19 plans this year for very different Chamber events: The Catfish Classic Days, the Longest Dam Race, and the 2020 Montana Governor’s Cup Walleye Tournament. The Catfish Classic’s street dance was canceled this year because finding a way to host that while also adhering to health guidelines and social distancing proved impossible. Koski’s previous experience with creating and implementing health plans helped inform the Chamber’s decision to cancel the fair concert.

“We were also looking at the possibility, though it hadn’t happened yet, but the possibility that Diamond Rio would cancel and all our work would be for nothing,” the executive director said. The band had recently announced the cancellation of a concert in Deadwood, S.D., and public expectation was that announcements of further cancellations would be forthcoming.

Koski further noted that there was also the bottom line to consider. The Chamber has paid out additional expenses this year, purchasing items such as hand sanitizer and hand-washing stations, to conform to health plans. Purchasing all the equipment necessary to provide a safe and healthy environment in the midst of the pandemic would have eaten into the bottom line, limiting the Chamber’s future ability to bring in quality acts.

“Covid has taken its toll,” Koski agreed. Community members should be assured that the Chamber remains committed to hosting events for the area. Even though this year has proved particularly challenging, the Chamber is keeping its eye on long-term goals while protecting the health and safety of all of Valley County.

 

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