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2021 MSFF canceled due to COVID

ELKINS — For the second straight year, the Mountain State Forest Festival has been canceled due to COVID-19 concerns.

“The Mountain State Forest Festival Association Board of Directors has announced they have canceled the 2021 celebration, scheduled Oct. 2 – Oct. 10, amid concerns of the current surge in coronavirus infections,” an MSFF press release stated Friday afternoon.

“The Board conferred with officials from Davis Health System before making the decision to put the health and safety of the community first, especially with the spread of the delta variant of the virus, and not add more stress on the hospital system or first responders.”

MSFF Director General Robbie Morris said officials felt cancellation of the annual festivities had to be done for the safety of the community.

“At the end of the day, the health and safety of our community is of the utmost priority,” Morris told The Inter-Mountain Friday evening.

“The numbers are really bad right now and just getting worse,” he said. “The hospital is absolutely overrun at the moment. Our healthcare workers are sick and tired and exhausted. Our EMS and first responders are the same way. The Forest Festival puts additional stressors on them in a normal year, let alone with what COVID is doing right now.

“So we felt this was the most responsible thing to do and in the best interests of our community.”

Morris noted that the cancellation will be a financial hardship for the MSFF, but noted that many people have already offered help.

“Our sponsors have been absolutely fantastic,” he said. “Many of them are converting their sponsorships to donations, knowing what a financial impact this will have on the Forest Festival moving forward. So we’re very thankful.

“Many people have reached out this afternoon after hearing the announcement and thanked us. There are also several people that are disappointed, and we share in their disappointment,” Morris said. “We share in their frustration about not being able to have events like the Forest Festival right now. But there’s just no way to be able to have a Forest Festival right now or in the foreseeable future, given where we are.”

Morris said MSFF officials are determined to persevere despite having to cancel the festival in back-to-back years.

“It is going to be difficult,” he said. “We will survive, it’s just going to be difficult. The Festival has been financially responsible over the years, we have reserves. We will be dipping into those reserves, obviously, but we will march on the best we can.”

Officials canceled the 2020 Mountain State Forest Festival on July 23, 2020, citing concerns relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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