Apr. 9—NORTH MANKATO — For the second year in a row North Mankato's Fun Days has been canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"It was a very, very painful decision," said Denny Kemp, co-coordinator of the event. "We know people aren't happy."
He said that if Fun Days, held the weekend after July 4th, was to move forward there were vendors and others who would have to be signed up now.
"We had to apply the (state safety) rules as they are right now. If we did that, it became really untenable to have the safety and space and the requirements to have people seated if they have food or beverages."
Kemp said the Fun Days location at Wheeler Park would not allow them to have a secured and controlled location to abide by current health and safety guidance.
And he noted that while "we're turning the corner" on the virus, there are still troubling signs, including mutations of COVID-19 that are spreading.
"In Minnesota right now we have as many hospitalizations and people in the ICU as we did in January."
Fun Days relies heavily on volunteers and nonprofits to operate.
"Some of our nonprofits were not excited about participating," Kemp said. "We wanted the nonprofits to know as soon as possible in case they wanted to make plans for another type of fundraiser. The safety of our guests, volunteers and staff has always been our highest priority."
He said trying to organize a parade also created myriad challenges.
Fun Days began in 1965 as a way to thank residents who helped save the community from devastating floods that spring.