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The popular event is traditionally held to raise funds to support the Columbia City Community Library.

COURTESY PHOTO: COLUMBIA CITY COMMUNITY LIBRARY - The Columbia City Celebration, held to benefit the library, is canceled due to COVID-19.Concerns over the spread of COVID-19 have once again canceled a popular event in Columbia County, the Columbia City Celebration scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 18.

The always-popular event features a Strawberry Pancake Breakfast and a Show & Shine Car Show. At the car show in 2019, the last year the event was held, 122 cars were parked at Columbia City Elementary School.

Wendy Wells, a volunteer with Columbia City Community Library and past president of Friends of the Library, said the library has organized the event for several years, both to raise money and "bring the city together."

The Show & Shine Car show is always a big hit at the event. It is put on annually by Columbia County residents Gordon Thistle and Simon Ebert.

"They are car show aficionados," Wells said. "They invite friends and anyone else interested in displaying their car on the ball field. It's a great show."

Also, during normal times, the Columbia City Celebration offers a raffle.

"Our library director, Cathy Lundberg, sews a quilt every year and we raffle that off," Wells said.

Other event features include a silent auction, food and craft vendors.

"The Emergency Preparedness Fair comes and sets up," Wells said. "The Lions provide eye screening for preschool children. The Decades music group plays every year."

Money from the Columbia City Celebration goes toward library operating expenses and the purchase of books for the library.

"The school district kindly allows us to be in that modular building, free of rent," Wells said.

Still, however, insurance and operating expenses need to be taken care of to keep the building running.

But as the pandemic continues to rage out of control, for the second year in a row, the event has been canceled.

"We went into it thinking that we would be alright, even in April and May, as we knew that kids were going to be going back to school," Wells said. "Then we had concerns because other car shows around the area were being canceled. Some of the volunteers who would have been working at the pancake breakfast, or in the kitchen, weren't sure that they wanted to do that. We just thought it would be safer."

Instead of the Columbia City Celebration, the library will be focusing on a book sale Saturday, Sept. 18.

"We have about two years worth of accumulated books, and we are busting at the seams," Wells said.

The book sale will be held 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. under the covered playground area, outdoors, at the library.

The Columbia City Library, which is all volunteer-run, is celebrating its 20th anniversary. The library is open to anybody in Columbia County.

"This is free for anyone in the county," Wells said, adding that the library helps the community.

"We do make donations," she said. "We have provided two after-school programs at the elementary school. We've done summer reading programs. We have had speakers in the library."

Wells gave a shoutout to Lundberg, the library director, who has been with the library for the 20 years of its existence.

"She's absolutely fabulous and keeps the whole thing going," Wells said. "She has dedicated a lot of time and energy to the library."


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