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High Sierra? Fourth of July?

What does COVID-19 mean for local events

The calendar says April 8, but already local event planners are trying to decide what that means for summer attractions.

“We have canceled events into June,” said John Steffanic, manager of the Plumas-Sierra County Fair.

That includes the classic car show scheduled for the first weekend in June, and probably the alumni/county picnic event planned for the second.

But what about events such as the High Sierra Music Festival and the annual fair itself?

“We don’t have to make those decisions now,” he said.

Yes, local officials such as Plumas County Public Health Officer Mark Satterfield have said that events which would draw a large number of attendees wouldn’t be advisable — such as High Sierra or the large Fourth of July celebrations — Steffanic prefers to take a wait-and-see approach, though he admitted that “High Sierra will probably cancel on their own.”

That’s because events take planning and it’s nearly impossible to line up acts and deal with logistics with so much uncertainty.

However, Steffanic is more optimistic that the fair will go on — at least in some form. “We could judge jams and jellies and 4-H animals,” he said. “Maybe have a carnival, maybe not. There are different levels of events that we can do.”

Then there’s the possibility the fairgrounds could be put to use in the COVID fight. “We could be a 50-bed field hospital; we have generators,” he said.

Loss of events means a loss of revenue for the fairgrounds. “High Sierra represents about 20 percent of my budget,” he said. “If there’s no fair; I’m out of business.”

But he added that there’s the potential for some state funding to help fairs. Steffanic said that some fairs, which are held earlier in the calendar year, have already announced that they are canceling.

Recreation district

James Shipp, general manager of the Central Plumas Recreation and Park District, said that adult softball has been postponed and the youth soccer camp is in jeopardy.

Signs have been posted at the Pioneer Park playground urging people not to use the equipment, though it hasn’t been cordoned off as the school playgrounds have been.

Shipp is also uncertain about the Pioneer Park pool opening this year. Lifeguard training is scheduled for Memorial Day weekend, and it’s possible that training could be held in the beginning of June, but if health guidelines prohibit such activities, he would have only four returning lifeguards available.

“Everything would be greatly reduced,” he said, and if he didn’t have the revenue from the High Sierra Music Festival, it could be cost prohibitive to open the pool.

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