COVID-19 concerns force cancelation of Northwest Montana Fair parade

Northwest Montana Fair
Posted at 1:06 PM, Jul 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-23 15:00:04-04

KALISPELL — COVID-19 concerns have prompted officials to cancel the annual Northwest Montana Fair and Rodeo parade.

The event, which runs through downtown Kalispell on the Friday of fair week, has been called off due to public safety concerns as COVID-19 cases in Flathead County have recently been on the rise.

“While the decision was not made lightly, the Northwest Montana Fair fully understands the challenges posed in trying to organize the parade this year. We encourage the participants to get their entry ideas ready for next year,” Flathead County Fair manager Mark Campbell said.

The Kalispell Chamber of Commerce and the Northwest Montana Fair say in a news release that "putting the health and safety of parade entries, volunteers, and spectators is the primary focus and, as the largest parade of the year, the Fair Parade cannot be executed in a socially-distanced manner."

“The Fair Parade is a great event that showcases the hard work of our local 4-H and FFA students along with our many local businesses and organizations in town that support the ag community," Kalispell Chamber of Commerce president Joe Unterreiner noted.

"While we can’t have a parade this year because of COVID-19, we hope everyone will support this year’s students virtually or in person during the annual Market Livestock Sale on the Saturday of the Fair”, he added.

The Northwest Montana Fair and Rodeo is set for Aug. 19 to Aug. 23 at the Flathead County Fairgrounds in Kalispell with some restrictions in place. For example, Campbell told MTN News that there will no beer gardens at this year's event.

Click here for more information about the 2020 Northwest Montana Fair & Rodeo.

- information from Maren Siu included in this report.