There’s no doubt the coronavirus pandemic has upended the spring season in Canby in a way we’ve never seen before. The impact it will have on this summer, though, is still an open question.
The first casualty hit last week with the cancellation of the Oregon Bigfoot Festival and Beyond at the Clackamas County Fairgrounds.
The family-friendly celebration of all things Sasquatch (and more) had outgrown their native Troutdale and made plans for a move to Canby this year, a move that will now be delayed until 2021.
As a new event that many locals may not have even known about yet, the cancellation did not make huge waves in Canby. Still, the scratching of an event that had been scheduled for late July signals the possibility of worse news on the near horizon.
Many beloved events and longtime traditions do remain on the city’s late spring and busy summer calendar, for now anyway.
The coronavirus has already impacted one of the state’s largest garden shows, the Spring Garden Fair that had been held at the fairgrounds the weekend before Mother’s Day since 1984 — until now.
The two-day event, which features 140 vendors and draws an estimated 8,000 green thumbs to the Garden Spot has been pushed back to the last weekend in May, to be held in conjunction with the Clackamas County Event Center’s Tastes & Tunes Festival on May 29, 30 and 31.
The spiritual successor to the Canby Wine, Food and Brew Fest, Tastes & Tunes is planned to feature wineries, breweries, distilleries and food in the main pavilion and main lawn, along with live music on two stages, including the Timothy James Band, Tom Grant, Olivia Harms, Gabriel Cox and John Nilsen.
In a post on the Spring Garden Fair’s website announcing the new dates, the event’s management team says the hours and all activities are planned to be the same, including such favorites as the 10 Minute University, free pH soil testing and Ask an O.S.U. Master Gardener.
“As you may know, we are under the umbrella of both the Clackamas County Fair board and O.S.U. Extension Service,” they say. “Should either of these organizations, or county/state government, decide we need to make changes or even cancel our event, we will be required to comply.”
The team encourages vendors, volunteers and customers who don’t feel comfortable attending this year to please stay home.
The amazing team behind the Oregon Renaissance Faire is still planning on holding their event the first two weekends in June, according to their Facebook page.
“At this time, we are moving forward with the planning and preparation for all of our events,” said organizers, who also produce several large events in the Tacoma area, including the Washington Midsummer Renaissance Faire. “As we get closer to the dates of each event, we will continue to assess and reassess the recommendations and mandates from our government officials.”
The health and safety of their guests, cast, crew, merchants and all participants is of the utmost importance, they said.
“Our highest priority is the safety, health and well being of all that participate in our events,” they said. “We come from a diverse community of people, rich and poor, old and young, but the one thing that we all have in common is the love of our Faire Family and the continued success of our beloved community.”
Also on the horizon, Harefest 10, which is planning (hoping?) to draw thousands of classic rock lovers to the fairgrounds July 10 and 11. After several years at Pat’s Acres outside of Canby, the Mother of All Tribute Festivals had recently announced their own move back to town this year.
They, too, are hoping to move forward on their original date. If they have to make changes, they will first try to reschedule as opposed to canceling altogether.
“Naturally, we are hopeful that the outbreak is contained and the festival will happen as planned — approximately 4 months from now,” organizers said on March 19. “If it becomes clear that we cannot keep our existing date, then our first course of action will be to explore moving to a later date.”
Tyler Nizer, marketing and vendor coordinator for the Clackamas County Fairgrounds and Event Center, said he is is close contact with the organizers for each event and making adjustments based on the latest information and guidelines.
“Our No. 1 goal, obviously, is keeping people safe,” Nizer said. “We’re working with everybody and making backup plans to our backup plans if we need to. We’re moving forward as best we can.”
When the pandemic is behind us, and people are able to safely congregate again, the Fairgrounds will be ready.
“When all this is over, you know, I’m sure people are going to want to get out of the house,” Nizer said with a laugh. “We’re excited for that. Hopefully, we’ll be able to put on some great events this summer to help with that.”
Photo courtesy the Spring Garden Fair.