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With summer events wiped out at the Clackamas County Event Center, staff are looking for innovative ideas

CANBY — One of the linchpins of activities in Clackamas County won't be active this summer. The Clackamas County Event Center's annual flurry of summertime festivals and fun have all been canceled due to COVID-19, according to Executive Director Laurie Bothwell.

That means the late summer stuff, including the Clackamas County Fair, Canby Rodeo, the rescheduled Oregon Renaissance Faire and the inaugural Celtic Music Festival in late September, are all canceled this year.

"It's just so unreal for everyone," Bothwell said.

But things aren't completely dead at the fairgrounds. Far from it. Bothwell said that even with event center staff layoffs, the four people still there are working on some things for this summer.

PHOTO BY JOHN BAKER - The Clackamas County Fair and Canby Rodeo are the latest casulaties of the COVID-19 pandemic, having been canceled, along with all activities at the fairgrounds through September.

"We've already laid off as many people as we can," Bothwell said. "We'll be at 3.5 people in terms of working hours until we know what's next. My staff and I have been creative in seeing if we can do other things on the grounds that follow the governor's guidelines."

One of those ideas would be some types of drive-thru events that meet the COVID-19 safety guidelines. There also are plans to see whether hosting the annual Junior Livestock Auction, normally held during the fair, can be done virtually, or via some combination of video and streaming. The annual auction is a big fundraiser for the kids who participate each year.

"That's a work in progress now," said Bothwell, who added that there are some other ideas floating around, but nothing definitive as of right now.

Financially, the loss of the summer events will certainly sting, but Bothwell said the event center is doing fairly well financially at this point. There were some events that occurred that "are helping keep us afloat," she said. "We also receive part of the hotel/motel tax, though that has collapsed. It has been agreed that we will still receive our funding on the base level according to the ordinance."

For now, though, the work of trying to wring something from the summer months goes on. Ideas and concepts are being developed that, hopefully, will keep some funds coming into the event center.

"Plans are still developing," Bothwell said.

Cruise-in also cancels

This year's Cutsforth's Cruise-in by the Park also has been canceled in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. This year's event was slated for Aug. 29, making it the latest in a long line of summer event cancellations.

PHOTO BY DEBORAH GUINTHER - All activities and events have been canceled through September at the fairgrounds in Canby. However, thes staff is looking into other events that may be virtual or drive-thru in nature for this summer.


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