The annual Alden Days celebration - scheduled for June 19-20 – is the second Hardin County festival to be canceled due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. Alden city officials made the announcement Monday morning.
Alden Mayor Jeff Fiscus said the decision to cancel wasn’t difficult considering the ongoing concerns around COVID-19. He said the plan is to keep the 2020 schedule in place and move it to 2021.
This summer will be the first without an Alden Days festival since 2008. That year's event had to be canceled due to severe flooding in the Alden City Park.
"Since Hubbard already canceled their celebration, we thought it wouldn't be right to hold Alden Days this summer," Fiscus said. "I think the public will understand that this is a unique circumstance. If we were canceling it just to cancel it, I would think people might be more upset."
Alden City Clerk Lorrie Watts said the city provides $12,500 annually for the community celebration, and the local Horizons group typically raises $9,000 to $13,000 to support the two-day event.
Watts said the public safety outweighs any concerns about removing the event from the 2020 calendar.
"We don't want to be responsible for a bunch of people getting sick," Watts said. "The people who serve our community meals in the park are usually volunteers, and with all of the constant sanitizing that would have to be done . . . that would be difficult."
While no applications have been turned in for Miss Alden, Watts said there would be contingency plans to honor that individual at a later date.
Hubbard Days, which was scheduled for June 5-7, has been canceled. Organizers of two other Hardin County June festivals – New Providence Heritage Festival and Ackley Sauerkraut Days – are still considering their options. They expected decisions will be made in the next week or two. Riverbend Rally, the Fourth of July festival held in Iowa Falls every year, is also still scheduled to be held. Chamber/Main Street Director Diana Thies said she expects a decision about its fate will be made sometime next week.
In other summer entertainment news, Watts said the Alden Swimming Pool will not open on June 1 as had been scheduled. She said there are no immediate plans to set a new opening date, and the facility will remain closed until further notice.
Hardin County area festivals are scheduled throughout the summer as follows:
- Hubbard Days, June 5-7 - CANCELED
- Ackley Sauerkraut Days, June 11-14
- New Providence Heritage Festival, June 19-20
- Alden Days, June 19-20 CANCELED
- Iowa Falls Riverbend Rally, July 3-5
- Hardin County Fair, July 8-12
- Franklin County Fair, July 15-19
- Radcliffe Days, July 18
- Eldora Pine Lake Festival, July 24-26
- Dows Corn Days, July 31-Aug. 1 and 2