Add the Irish Fair of Minnesota and the Hamel Rodeo to the growing list of summer events in Minnesota that have been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Organizers of the Irish Fair of Minnesota, scheduled for Aug. 7-9 on Harriet Island in St. Paul, said in a news release Thursday they are "compelled to join the ranks of other large-scale summer events and announce the cancellation" of the 2020 fair.
The Irish Fair of Minnesota is a nonprofit organization founded in 1980 to promote and cultivate Irish culture through music, dance and activities. It puts on a multi-day festival every year filled with music, food, Irish sports, animals and other festivities.
"This difficult decision was made in an effort to keep our attendees, staff, entertainers, volunteers, and the greater community safe and secure," organizers said in the release.
Comments on the Irish Fair's Facebook post about the cancellation were mainly from people who said they understand the decision, but are sad they won't be able to attend this year.
"I spend 362 days a year looking forward to this! Devastating to hear that they canceled it! Understand and agree with the decision though," one commenter wrote.
Organizers say they're looking forward to the 2021 event, which is scheduled for Aug. 13-15, 2021. In the meantime, the Irish Fair of Minnesota will offer virtual events and educational offerings, which will be announced on social media and in the organization's newsletter.
State's biggest rodeo canceled
The Hamel Rodeo, a four-day rodeo held in the western Twin Cities suburbs, has called off the July event due to the uncertainty the coronavirus will have on summer events, the organization's website says.
The rodeo, which attracts thousands of people annually and is called the biggest rodeo in the state, would have celebrated its 40th year this summer.
"Our hearts are heavy as we tell our fans and friends that the 2020 Hamel Rodeo is canceled," organizers wrote in a Facebook post. "We’ve talked about every possible way to host a rodeo, but there’s no way to do it in consideration of state and local health guidelines."
The next Hamel Rodeo will be held July 8-11, 2021, at Corcoran Lions Park.