The North Bend Area Chamber of Commerce decided late last week that the 2020 Old Settlers celebration will not be held on its scheduled dates of June 26-28 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Thursday, May 21, Gov. Pete Ricketts announced a new Directed Health Measure that will take effect June 1. The new measure limits gatherings to 25 people and prohibits parades, carnivals, midways, dances, street dances and beer gardens through at least June 30.
Chamber president Nathan Arneal said the Chamber held off on making any final decision on Old Settlers as long as it could, waiting to see if conditions and restrictions would change enough to allow the annual town celebration to happen in late June.
“When we saw the new Directed Health Measure for June, that essentially made the decision for us,” Arneal said.
Arneal said the Chamber will explore having some type of modified Old Settlers later in the summer, when and if conditions allow. While the DC Lynch carnival, a long-time staple of Old Settlers, almost certainly wouldn’t be involved, Arneal said, perhaps many of the weekend’s events can be held on a later date.
This year is scheduled to be the 97th annual Dodge County Old Settlers, a tradition that started in 1889 as the Old Settlers Picnic, a meeting and reunion of the area’s pioneer families. North Bend has hosted the event since 1925, with the Chamber of Commerce in charge since 1978. If this year’s Old Settlers is unable to be held, it is believed it would be the first cancellation of Old Settlers since rains prevented the 1924 event from being held at Ridgely Hall.
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