STILLWATER, Minn. (FOX 9) - The annual Lumberjack Days event in Stillwater, Minnesota was canceled yet again.
Organizers of the event said they had to cancel due to a lack of sponsorship funds, particularly due to changing COVID-19 restrictions.
The event was supposed to be held the weekend of July 24 and 25. The event organizers had not posted any promotions for the event on social media. Their website also did not list any updates for 2021 music acts or vendors. Organizers, a group called "The Locals," did not respond to FOX 9’s request for comment.
In a statement, Facebook organizers say the more than 80 year old event is expected to come back in 2022.
"It’s a real bummer because it’s such a fun event it’s a great local event folks come in for it spend the weekend, but we’re doing some great other things," said Robin Anthony, Greater Stillwater Chamber of Commerce Executive Director.
She says despite losing out on this festival, it’s been a busy spring and summer in Stillwater.
"Not having Lumberjack Days this year, I don’t think it’s going to impact the businesses a whole lot. Stillwater has been just crazy busy," Anthony said. "Pretty much most of the storefronts - if not all - are full and that’s the first time in a real long time."
Anthony said two big events are also on the horizon for Stillwater: on August 14, they are hosting a ribbon cutting and celebration for the pedestrian lift bridge that opened over the St. Croix river last year. The event will include live music, a bike race and street dance.
Anthony also said the city just secured a contract to host the first ever World Snow Sculpting Championship in January. Anthony said there will be teams representing at least 10 different countries at the event.
Lumberjack Days is not alone when it comes to the scramble of trying to put on an event with limited notice. Just over nine weeks ago, Governor Walz announced the easing of COVID restrictions giving some festivals and events limited time to put plans together.
"Once fairs are done - whether it’s a June, July or August fair - the planning… really starts for next year’s event. They’re looking at vendors, concessionaires their entertainment acts to be able to book those individuals to come to the fair," Tiffany Gustin with the Minnesota Federation of County Fairs said.
Gustin says it was difficult for some events to get carnivals to commit to traveling from out of state without the guarantee of an event or full capacity event. She says often times food vendors have to order food and paper products months in advance to prepare for a fair. She said there were also concerns that events could get enough volunteers to participate before COVID vaccines were made readily available.
"So really having six or eight weeks, while it does sound like a considerable amount of time, it really puts people under the gun to make those decisions and pull in individuals in at the last minute," Gustin said.