Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

Port cancels Snake River Family Festival


On Wednesday, April 8, the Port of Whitman County announced that it will be canceling the 2020 Snake River Family Festival at Boyer Park.

The Snake River Festival will not take place again until 2021.

“We are very disappointed that we cannot host this year’s festival for our community,” said Port of Whitman Executive Director Joe Poire in a press release. “It has become a cherished celebration of our river and we will miss seeing all of our wonderful exhibitors and attendees.”

At the April 2 port commission meeting, it was discussed if the festival should be canceled or moved to a later date this year, possibly in August.

During this past port commission meeting, Port of Whitman Communications Director Sarah Highfield said it is becoming increasingly unlikely they would be able to hold a 500 or more person event just a month after the end of the social distancing mandate, extended till April 30, given by the president Sunday, March 29.

“The Port explored postponing the festival to August, but ultimately decided that harvest and back-to-school time would preclude too many people from participating,” said the press release.

Prior to the cancellation of the event, Highfield had sent out a poll to prior exhibitors to see if they would be able to participate in light of COVID-19.

As of the April 2 meeting, the majority of responses said yes, they would attend the festival if public health guidelines allow by May 30. This was the morning before Gov. Inslee extended the “Stay home, Stay Healthy” order till May 4.

The port staff, in their press release, said that once the stay home order was extended they felt that canceling the festival was the best way to respond to Washington's COVID-19 outbreak.

“Port Commissioners and staff look forward to celebrating the Snake River once again in early summer 2021,” the press release said. “The free, family-oriented festival draws about 500 people to Boyer Park & Marina each year to celebrate the multi-faceted Columbia-Snake River System.”


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