ZooMontana cancels 2 big fall events over rising COVID Delta variant cases

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Posted at 4:57 PM, Aug 24, 2021

The Montana Renaissance Festival and Boo at the Zoo, both scheduled at ZooMontana, have both been canceled because of increasing local cases of the COVID-19 delta variant, zoo officials said Tuesday.

Jeff Ewelt, executive director for the zoo in Billings, said in a statement both events expected to draw thousands, which posed too great a risk for the community.

“It is with a heavy heart that I am canceling this year’s Renaissance Faire and Boo at the Zoo. As one of the largest cultural institutions in the state, it is important that we lead and make decisions that keep our guests, staff, volunteers, and animals safe. The recent uptick in COVID-19 delta variant cases prevents us from holding large-scale events on our grounds. With nearly 8,000 people expected during a 2-day period for the Ren Faire, and 5,000 for Boo, the risks are simply too great. We are supporting our local health officials' calls for preventative measures and thank the community for its understanding and support," Ewelt said in a statement.

The Montana Renaissance Faire had been scheduled for Sept. 4 & 5, and Boo at the Zoo on Oct. 30.

Ewelt added that the loss of both events will hurt the zoo, but attendance revenue from the summer will help absorb the losses.