After considering a Bear ‘Pause’ the Bear Paw Festival has been canceled

File photo of Bear Paw Festival.
File photo of Bear Paw Festival.(KTUU)
Published: Aug. 4, 2020 at 3:58 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - For the first time in its history, the Bear Paw Festival will not take place. The festival was scheduled to occur July 8-12 but was postponed until September 3, and now will not be happening at all in 2020.

The decision was made after organizers felt the festival could not be held safely with rising COVID-19 cases in Alaska and the municipality.

The festival is an annual event held in the summer and helps fund the Chugiak-Eagle River Chamber of Commerce. Now that the festival is canceled, the chamber says they will be putting out a “call to help” for funds to continue supporting the organization.

The chamber hosts annual events on top of Bear Paw like the Winter Wonderland & Tree Lighting and the Merry Merchant Munch. With large gatherings prohibited or deemed unsafe, the chamber’s biggest fundraisers are in jeopardy.

When Bear Paw Festival was postponed, organizers said the carnival would still be held with fewer rides and more safety precautions including sanitization stations and a mask requirement. Now that the festival is canceled, 5,000 cloth masks that were purchased to give to festival-goers will now be distributed to community members.

While the festival won’t happen in 2020, organizers are optimistic about holding a 2021 festival.

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