Salmonfest 2020 cancelled amidst coronavirus concerns

Published: May. 24, 2020 at 8:46 PM AKDT
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Salmonfest organizers have announced the cancellation of the 2020 festival. The announcement was made Sunday in a statement posted to the festival's official Facebook page.

"As a festival built around fish, love, and music, we try our hardest to think about everyone involved, especially the residents of Alaska, when making decisions," the statement read, in part.

Festival organizers posted that they do not believe it's possible to have the festival as usual, as the festival typically wrangles in thousands of people to the small town of Ninilchick each year. The post also made an apology to those who worried the festival might go on as planned, including the people of Ninilchik, several bands, vendors, staff, and volunteers.

"Communities outside of Alaska and the country who have opened are experiencing spikes in new cases, or second waves," the statement read. "While there are encouraging factors such as our location and small numbers of positive cases there are many other factors to consider. While restrictions are lifting, social distancing maybe the last recommendation to be lifted. Unfortunately there are a lot of ' ifs' to consider which makes planning difficult."

Festival staff have been monitoring the COVID-19 situation since it started in Alaska and involving the community in its decision making process. Organizers say they'll be in discussions with the local health department about the possibility of a small scale gathering, depending on the risk level in the future. According to the statement, they'll be sending out a survey to those who've provided their email addresses to hear ideas and suggestions.

Organizers are now looking to their 10 year anniversary festival in August 2021. They say anyone who already purchased a ticket to the 2020 festival should keep an eye out for an email sent to them using the email provided to purchase the tickets.

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