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Organizers say canceling Polson cherry festival is the "right thing to do"

Posted at 2:13 PM, Jun 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-18 16:13:14-04

Organizers of the annual Polson Cherry Festival are disappointed they'll have to cancel this year's event because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

But they tell MTN News it was "the right thing to do".

The Polson Business Community Association had been debating whether to postpone this year's festival for the past several weeks, looking at various precautions in discussion with local government and health officials.

But there were just too many obstacles to overcome and no way to proceed, especially with a rise in Lake County COVID cases.

"There really isn't. We worked really hard with the Board of Health, and the city commissioners and the county commissioners and they were all very supportive and helpful," said Bobbie Goldberg, of the Polson Community Business Association.

"There was absolutely no way for us to move forward with current cases that have been diagnosed and pending cases to come. And with all the testing going on this week numbers are expected to rise. We also had issues with getting equipment that we needed for proper sanitation."

So the festival -- which had been scheduled for July 18 and 19 -- won't happen this year. A recent survey has shown how disappointing that will be for the community. But Goldberg says the businesses are equally disappointed.

"No, it's the right thing to do at this point," said Goldberg. "The agreement has always been that that if we didn't have cases we could push forward. But now that, even with just a few cases, it can turn into a lot more. So we just have to respect our community. And as hard as we tried and we thought and we thought, it was worth every bit of it, it's just not the proper thing to do."

Organizers will be reaching out to vendors in the coming days, and are promising to come back "bigger and better" in 2021.

There was double disappointment this week for Lake County residents with the Polson Chamber of Commerce also announcing that the 4th of July fireworks show will be postponed until Labor Day because of the pandemic.