It was another disappointment in a season of disappointments.
No Miners Jubilee 2020.
The list of traditional spring and summer events in Baker County that have been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic is, sadly, considerably longer than the list of events that will still happen.
Two-wheeled gatherings — the Hells Canyon Motorcycle Rally and the Baker City Cycling Classic — have been no more immune to the pandemic than four-legged ones — the Baker City Bronc and Bull Riding competitions.
Flea markets have been affected — among Sumpter’s trio of celebrations of quirky commerce only the Labor Day weekend is still a possibility — and so has football, with the East-West Shrine All-Star Game, a major fundraiser for the Portland Shriners Hospital for Children an early casualty of COVID-19.
Friday’s announcement by the Baker County Chamber of Commerce that Miners Jubilee was canceled was hardly a surprise, meager solace though that may be.
As Chamber director Shelly Cutler pointed out, with a limit of 250 people on public gatherings likely to be in place for some time, it’s simply not feasible to try to rearrange Geiser-Pollman Park to satisfy that limit and still put on a recognizable event the third weekend in July.
But summer, which is just 3 days old, can still be salvaged.
The Haines Stampede Rodeo is set for July 3 and 4, and fireworks shows are planned in Haines and Halfway.
The Baker County Fair will happen Aug. 3-7.
And though we’ve done without flea markets, the Baker City Farmers Market is happening every Wednesday at the Court Avenue plaza.
The cancellation of so many major events during the height of Baker County’s tourist season constitutes major harm to local businesses that have already suffered.
We won’t be welcoming as many visitors as in summers past, and that means local residents, and local dollars spent at our businesses, will be more important than ever.
The events, we can devoutly hope, will return in 2021 as society adjusts to the new threat posted by the coronavirus.
But businesses once lost can be difficult to replace.
— Jayson Jacoby, Baker City Herald editor