By Chad Ingram
Haliburton County's Hike HaliburtonFestival has been cancelled for 2020 in the wake of the COVID-19pandemic.
County councillors made that decisionduring a May 27 meeting (that meeting taking place via onlineconferencing platform Zoom and broadcast on YouTube) after receivinga report from tourism director Amanda Virtanen.
Hike Haliburton is the county'ssignature event taking place each fall and including dozens ofguided hikes at locations throughout the county.
As Virtanen told council typicallyplanning – including organizing the hikes retaining volunteerguides attaining sponsorships etc. – takes place throughout Mayand June. “Generally by Canada Day everything is open to marketand the promotion begins” she said.
Virtanen's report included fouroptions ranging from planning to host the event as usual toscaled-down repackaged versions of the event to Option D –complete cancellation.
Councillors reluctantly agreed thatcancellation made the most sense given it's unclear what will happenwith the curve of the coronavirus outbreak and what provincialregulations may be by the end of the summer.
“Despite the event being severalmonths away we don't know where it's going” said AlgonquinHighlands Mayor Carol Moffatt.
“Things like the ploughing match andthe CNE have had to cancel” said Dysart et al Mayor AndreaRoberts. “ . . . I reluctantly choose Option D.”
Dysart et al Deputy Mayor Pat Kennedysaid he'd like to see the money allotted for this year's festival –$7100 of its $46000 budget had been spent – held in reserve andfor the county to host an extra large festival in 2021. Other membersof council agreed.