ELY - A final decision on a recommendation from the Ely Chamber of Commerce events and promotions committee that the organization’s 2020 Harvest Moon Festival be canceled will come from the …
ELY - A final decision on a recommendation from the Ely Chamber of Commerce events and promotions committee that the organization’s 2020 Harvest Moon Festival be canceled will come from the chamber’s board of directors later this month.
According to Chamber Executive Director Eva Sebesta, the chamber’s board will wait until the end of July to make a final decision on Ely’s second large festival of the summer.
Back in April, the chamber canceled this year’s Blueberry/Art Festival and several other summer events due to public health concerns over the coronavirus and the state’s stay-at-home orders.
The chamber’s events committee recommended on May 26 that the smaller fall festival also be called off this year because of the ongoing COVID-19 situation.
The minutes of the May events and promotions committee, released on Thursday, June 25 stated:
“Harvest Moon Festival – After committee review of a letter received from the Events Coordinator, Ellen Cashman, and in light of the recent cancellations of large public gatherings including the Minnesota State Fair due to COVID-19, a motion was made by Jodi Martin with support by Bonnie Starkman to recommend cancellation of the Harvest Moon Festival for 2020. Motion carried. The Chamber Board will make the final determination on the recommendation.”
“Ellen has been following the Minnesota events and festivals association and the recommendations they have been giving,” Sebesta said, “and right now we are waiting to hear what the recommendations are from the Minnesota Department of Health and what the Governor is going to allow.”
She said that current guidelines allow for a “few hundred” people to get together. The Harvest Moon Festival typically draws thousands of visitors into Ely.
“Our decision is going to be dictated by what the Governor is going to allow for in terms of events,” Sebesta said.
“The board is holding off (on their decision) because things are changing literally every day. We want to wait as long as possible, which is July 28, and we still want to give folks enough notice so that if we do cancel, vendors can get their refunds. We want to have the best possible information when we make our decision,” she said.
Any decision by the chamber’s board of directors will be made with no current members as this week the terms of board president Brian Forsberg and board treasurer Chuck Zeugner are set to expire, according to Sebesta. Board elections will determine the board’s new leadership structure.
The Ely Watercross Association is hosting a racing event Aug. 8-9 at the Longbranch in Winton. A gathering of ATV riders from around the state will hold a convention in the Ely area Sept. 18-20. The Ely Marathon, on Sept. 26, is also still scheduled.