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Granton festival latest to fall

The chance for any large-scale community event this fall is getting smaller with each passing week as the threat of COVID-19 forces committees to make hard decisions about their events as fall draws near. The Granton Fall Festival is the latest event to be cancelled this year as a result of the pandemic, although some aspects of the event will carry on as planned.

Since this spring, the Fall Festival Committee has been watching events unfold across Clark County and the rest of the state very closely and held off making decisions on this year’s event until they were certain they could hold the festival safely. That never happened, and the committee officially decided to cancel on July 6.

The committee said there were several factors in its decision to cancel, and COVID-19 loomed over them all. By the time they had made their decision, the Clark County Fair had already been cancelled, and with case numbers still rising in the county and other communities expected to cancel their events, there were concerns about being the only area community holding an annual event and attracting large crowds to the village.

Other organizations that participate annually in the Fall Festival, including the Granton Rotary Club and the Granton Fire Department, also had expressed concerns about large gatherings around common eating facilities and asked the committee to consider cancelling the festival to protect their volunteers. Each year, the Rotary Club operates a fried chicken stand on the Sunday of the festival while the Fire Department operates a beer stand in the fire station throughout the event.

Because of the cancellation, there are a few organizations and events typically tied to the Fall Festival that had to make their own separate decisions on their activities. The Granton Rotary Club still intends to give out its honored citizen award and is still seeking nominations for candidates. The annual softball tournament held over the Fall Festival weekend is also still going to be held after the association received permission from the Granton Village Board later in the week to continue its use of the Granton Community Park as planned. They will hold the tournament from Sept. 11-13.

As for the Fall Festival queen, their committee ultimately decided to have 2019’s court continue to represent the Granton community until next fall when the 2021 Granton Fall Festival is expected to be held. The 2019 court consists of queen Joi Reimer and attendant Mackenzie Muraski.

The Fall Festival in Granton, held annually on the second weekend of September, would have turned 70 this year. The festival usually starts on Friday with the crowning of the queen and continues with softball games and music. On Saturday, the Granton FFA would hold contests for children, including a fishing contest, penny scramble, frog jumping contest and pedal pull. Saturday afternoon would bring a bean bag tournament, derby cars and free inflatables. The evening events would begin with the Tri-City car cruise and continue with a burnout contest and Loyal Mini Rod pull afterwards. Sunday morning would start off with the Granton church service at the fire station and music until the kiddie parade and grand parade at 1 p.m. A cake walk, the Badger State Dirt Flingers and other events would conclude the festival.