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‘Definitely sad’ over Meadowlark Festival cancellation

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This spring’s Meadowlark Nature Festival has been cancelled due to the coronavirus. (Photo courtesy of Preserved Light Photography)

Sophie Gray

Local Journalism Initiative

The beloved Meadowlark Nature Festival is officially cancelled this spring due to concerns around the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Coordinator Jayme Friedt said the decision was not made easily, but a combination of a lack of travel and advisories to avoid gathering made it difficult for the festival for this year.

The festival normally receives roughly 30 percent of their ticket sales from travellers, and without that it just isn’t financially feasible for this year, leaving many locals and naturalists disappointed.

“The festival, it’s been happening for 22 years here. It really is a legacy in the Okanagan-Similkameen,” said Friedt. “People have been coming to the festival for years and years and years. It really is something that people look forward to in the spring.”

The festival was set to run from May 14 to 17 this spring for the 23rd year. Originally, Friedt said that organizers thought they would postpone until the fall, but with an unknown end to the current COVID-19-related restrictions and other festivals and events already taking place in the fall, they decided to wait until next year.

Festival organizers have already had feedback about cancelling the festival, which appears to have left quite an impact on the Osoyoos community.

“People are definitely, definitely sad about the festival being cancelled just as much as the organizers are, but it’s a strange time and people are definitely understanding,” said Friedt.

The festival will be back on May 20, 2021. Organizers hope to see all those who would have come out this year sign up for next year’s events that include the usual hiking, walking and nature tours to explore the flora and fauna of the Okanagan and Similkameen.

In the meantime, Friedt said she and the other festival organizers hope that people will continue to get outside while they wait for the festival to return next spring.

“There’s so much online that you can research and there are so many knowledgeable people in the valley here that you could reach out to and they could help you,” said Friedt. “Lots of naturalist clubs and hiking clubs, just get outside and explore this beautiful place in which we live on your own and together with your family. And with friends, but with social distancing.”

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