WASILLA — After much thought, discussion and consideration, the Greater Palmer Chamber of Commerce decided to cancel one of the biggest events around town each year, the Colony Days festival.
“It was a really hard decision,” Palmer Chamber Executive Director Ailis Vann said. “I’ve definitely lost sleep over it.
Unlike smaller events like the weekly Friday Fling marketplace, Colony Days pulls in thousands of people, especially for the parade.
To follow the state’s health mandates, the chamber decided there was no feasible way to try minimize the sheer number of people that show up to this event. Vann said the chamber would be liable if anyone got sick.
“The risk wasn’t worth the rewards, which is really unfortunate… We love the event. Colony Days is one of the best. It’s such a fun-filled weekend” Vann said. “There’s still just too many unknowns.”
Vann said the chamber is looking to see if they can host other events later in summer like the Midsummer Garden and Arts Faire in July, and Friday Fling, only if it’s starting later than usual.
She said they plan to open Friday Fling by June 19.
“Beyond that, it just depends…We appreciate everyone’s understanding as we take things day by day, ” Vann said. “There will be stuff to do, just events that are easier to manage… We have an innovative board, we will think of something.”
Colony Days is one of Vann’s favorite weekends of the year.
“I really love just seeing people come to town, just seeing people excited. People have their favorite things they like to do,” Vann said.
Vann said that one of the first events she ever started at the festival was the egg toss and she’s sad she won’t be able to celebrate the 10th anniversary this year.
“When we get to have these things again, hopefully we’ll have more love and respect for them because of everything it takes, all the stars having to be aligned to make it happen,” Vann said.
Vann said that it takes a slew of volunteers and community participation to make this event happen and she appreciates all the memories of Colony Days past and the ones they’ll make in the future. She said there will still be opportunities to enjoy the small town, just in smaller doses for the time being.
“Just seeing the community come together to celebrate our little town, our little Valley, that’s the best part… working together for greater good,” Vann said. “All our businesses are doing their best. It’s worth coming to Palmer.”
For more information, call 907-745-2880 or visit palmerchamber.org.
Contact Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman reporter Jacob Mann at firstname.lastname@example.org