From Detour to Detroit, from Saline to St. Ignace and Traverse City to Tawas, all are ghost towns today. COVID-19 has seen to that. These are the most challenging of times and its full impact remains to be known.

“Just stop what you’re doing, go home and stay there,” we were told in March. Walk away from your business, your life and hide.

Of course, we understand the seriousness of it and want to do what we can to keep everyone safe from this dreadful pandemic. It’s just a hard pill to swallow.

Our whole way of life is turned upside down. School closings, businesses shutdown, concerts, sporting events of all sorts (from little league to pro), festivals, fairs and religious gatherings all closed until we get a handle on this silent deadly virus.

Tens of thousands infected and thousands who’ve died here in Michigan. Hundreds of thousands who’ve died across the globe from this pandemic. And we are told it could get worse.

Could this really happen? You know the answer to that question!

There is much to be concerned about with all this, the least of which is whether or not our Outdoor Weekend will be canceled in September. Yet, most of the questions we get here at the office are exactly that, “Are you still going to have Woods and Waters this year?”

Perhaps it’s an attempt by our readers to hang on to something that just rolls around each year, signifying the change of seasons. Something that signals a new outdoor season. Maybe it’s just boredom and looking ahead to a time when some form of normal returns.

In trying to find an answer concerning the status of the Outdoor Weekend, I asked our local fair manager and other elected officials what they thought and may have heard.

Eastern Michigan State Fair Manager Ian Kempf feels confident the late July event will go on as scheduled. He also thinks it will look like any other fair they have ever held, although there may be precautions behind the scenes to insure safety for all.

In speaking with our Michigan State Senator Kevin Daley he said, “I’m surprised at the number of events already canceled. It seems far too early to cancel an event.”

“These special events are so important to us, our lives and our livelihoods. We have to trust people to use a little common sense and they will if given a chance. They know the right thing to do,” Daley stated.

If it turns out we can’t hold the 34th Outdoor Weekend, well, we understand we can’t control such things. We will pick up the pieces, roll up our sleeves and put our energy into making 2021’s event better than ever.

If it works out we can, 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 amount of visitors in at a time. Again, we will do what’s asked of us to be safe.

A couple months ago someone walking into a sporting goods store with a mask on would have prompted the clerk to call the police. Today, walking in without a mask the same clerk may call the police for an entirely different reason.

Like we have already seen with this virus, a lot can change in a week. Let’s hope we are able to hold the Woods-N-Water News Outdoor Weekend, slated for September 11th, 12th and 13th, at the Eastern Michigan State Fairgrounds here in Imlay City.

We’re going to remain optimistic and plan on seeing you the weekend after Labor Day.

Until then keep reading and keep safe!

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