TRI-CITY AREA — With COVID-19 restrictions still in place, uncertainty remains about the status of several local events scheduled for this summer of 2020.


Organizers of Imlay City’s Busker Fest (June 12-13), Almont’s Homecoming Festival (Aug. 8), and Capac’s Capac Days (June 26-27) have already announced they have been canceled.

Still on hold

Organizers of several other local 2020 summer events remain in a holding pattern.

Those events (in chronological order) include the Imlay City Lavender Festival, July 9-11; the 2020 Eastern Michigan State Fair, July 28 – Aug. 1; Imlay City’s 150th Anniversary “Sesquicentennial” Aug. 7-8; and the Woods-N-Water News Outdoor Weekend, Sept. 11-13.

Tricia Dennis, owner of Indigo Lavender Farms in Imlay City, said Lavender Fest organizers have yet to make an official decision.

“It is getting closer and closer to the time we will have to make a decision,” said Dennis. “We’ve canceled our separate events this summer, but we hope to open the farm on July 5, (per usual) for U-Pick, with whatever restrictions and safety measures are required by the State of Michigan.

“We are projecting a store opening date of June 15,” she said, “which is more than month later than the store’s normal opening date in early May.”

Imlay City’s 150th

The status of Imlay City’s 150th anniversary event (Sesquicentennial) set for Aug. 7-8, remains uncertain.

Tom Youatt, Chairman of the city’s Sesquicentennial Committee, said discussion of the event was expected to take place at Tuesday’s (May 19) Imlay City Commission meeting.

Fair in limbo

Ian Kempf, Eastern Michigan State Fair Manager, said organizers will likely wait until mid-June to make a final decision about the 2020 Fair, scheduled for July 28 – Aug. 1.

“If it turns out that no large gatherings will be allowed this summer, then we will have our answer,” Kempf said. “Fortunately, the Fair is very well established, so we have the luxury of waiting until the 11th hour to make a decision.”

Kempf did not rule out the possibility of hosting a scaled-back event for families at the fairgrounds on the scheduled dates.

“When it gets to the point where a decision has to be made, there are a couple of options we’re exploring,” said Kempf. “Based on the restrictions at the time, we may still be able host an animal show at the fairgrounds.”

He noted that despite Lapeer County 4-H’s decision not to participate this year, the opportunity remains for children to take part in “open-class” shows and competitions.

“Right now,” said Kempf, “I think everyone’s waiting to see what others do, and what the state allows us to do.”

‘Outdoor Weekend’

Randy Jorgensen, founder of Woods-N-Water News and co-coordinator of the annual Outdoor Weekend at the Eastern Michigan State Fairgrounds, is hopeful the event can still take place Sept. 11-13.

“If it works out that we can,” Jorgensen said, “you can bet we’ll do everything in our power to make sure it’s as safe as possible for all.

“There is talk of health cards, continued social distancing, buffer zones or staggered times to allow only a certain number of visitors at a time,” he continued. “Like we have already seen, a lot can change in a week.

“We’re going to remain optimistic and we plan on seeing you the weekend after Labor Day here in Imlay City.”

Tom Campbell, Woods-N-Water News editor/co-event coordinator, noted that postponing the event to a later date in the autumn of 2020 is not a possibility.

“Because of the beginning of hunting season and other factors, postponing is not an option for us. We would have to wait again until next year.”

Tom Wearing started at the Tri-City Times in 1989, covering the Village of Capac as a beat reporter. He later served stints as assistant editor and editor. Today, he covers Imlay City and Almont as a staff writer. He enjoys music and plays drums and sings with various musical groups in the Detroit Metropolitan area.