After the announcements in recent weeks of the cancellation of two local summer festivals, it would stand to reason that other festivals would follow suit. Many businesses have been closed and events canceled since March, when community spread of the coronavirus pandemic reached Iowa. RAGBRAI announced it will postpone its cross-state bicycle ride to 2021, and Iowa's Ride announced the cancellation of its planned ride.
But not New Providence. The small Hardin County community is still planning to go ahead with its annual Heritage Festival, albeit in an understated way.
Ben Speck, who owns the iconic New Providence Hardware Store and volunteers on the Heritage Festival planning committee, reported Tuesday that the celebration is still being planned for June 20. But there will be some changes.
The schedule, which usually stretches from 6 a.m. to midnight on a Saturday in June, will be shortened. The 5K race, parade and other morning activities will be moved to the evening - around 5:30 p.m. They'll be followed by live entertainment downtown, which will be conducted with social distancing rules in place. Other activities - the kickball tournament and kids' inflatables - will be removed from the schedule.
Speck said festival organizers are also in talks with the makers of "New Providence," a film that's set in New Providence and tells the story of the final 6-on-6 basketball season. Crews were in Hardin County last year to film scenes from a basketball game. Speck said organizers would like to be able to screen the movie as a drive-in at the Roundhouse, but those plans haven't been confirmed.
Speck said plans are still subject to change. A schedule of events will be released closer to the festival.
The weekend of the Heritage Festival was supposed to also be the weekend of Alden Days, but city officials announced Monday that they were pulling the plug on the event, moving activities to June 2021 amid concerns about the spread of COVID-19. Hubbard Days, which was to be held June 5-7, was canceled last month. Organizers of other festivals - Ackley Sauerkraut Days and Iowa Falls' Riverbend Rally - are still discussing whether to stick to the plans, amend the plans or cancel.
The full 2020 schedule of Hardin County summer festivals (and links to their websites and Facebook pages) is as follows:
- Hubbard Days, June 5-7 - CANCELED
- Ackley Sauerkraut Days, June 11-14
- New Providence Heritage Festival, June 19-21
- 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