Canceled or Continuing: Summer events in South Dakota differ
DELL RAPIDS & AURORA, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -This time of year, cities across South Dakota hold their annual summer festivals. But due to the pandemic, many have had to cancel or at least modify.
This would usually be a busy time in Dell Rapids.
“Thousands of people come through Quarry Days. They come from the southeastern part of the state, from Brookings, Madison and Sioux Falls. They come from northwest Iowa and Southeast Minnesota,” said Dan Ahlers, President of the Dell Rapids Chamber of Commerce.
At first, the Dell Rapids Chamber of Commerce postponed their annual Quarry Days event from June to August. Then earlier this week, a meeting was held to get input from community members, businesses owners and medical professionals.
“The day before, Sioux Falls had just had it’s highest number of COVID positive cases since May and then we were aware of the camp Judson outbreak too,” said Ahlers.
Ultimately the decision was made to cancel Quarry Days all together. Ahlers says it wasn't an easy decision, but felt it was the safest option.
“It’s usually pretty good for our businesses. That’s the hard part in all this, is it can be a nice little boost for our economy. But I’ve also been to a variety of events around the state this year and I can tell you that these events, the numbers are way down. They aren’t what they were before,” said Ahlers.
Out in Aurora, festivities are still going on for their Pickle Festival, Aurora Gala Days. However, with some modifications. There won’t be any bouncy-house inflatables.
“It just wasn’t feasible to try to keep them clean and sanitized,” said Pat Tingle, AEC Chairman.
And park vendors will be limited.
“We could allow more social distancing in the park. Normally we have 22 vendors. We knocked it down to about 11 this year,” said Tingle.
Organizers also had to cancel several activities, such as a photo booth and their electric magic man.
“Basically he would do balloons and stuff and that one-on-one stuff and same with face painting. We decided some of that stuff that we’d probably kind of edge away that there was no way we could get that six foot distancing,” said Tingle.
Organizers say safety is their number one priority.
“We’re going to check temps at the door. We’re asking people if you have any of these symptoms please don’t come,” said Tingle.
There will also be hand sanitizer stations available. Masks are optional, but highly recommended.
The City of Garretson also cancelled their annual summer event: Jesse James Days.
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