Forest Festival a go, except for a few event postponements

This year's forest festival had about 25,000 guests (Source: KTRE Staff)
This year's forest festival had about 25,000 guests (Source: KTRE Staff)
Published: Aug. 31, 2021 at 3:29 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 1, 2021 at 6:21 PM CDT
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LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - The increase in COVID-19 cases is challenging event planners once again. The latest to announce a change of plans is the upcoming Texas State Forest Festival.

Event planners face a dilemma. They have a responsibility to community safety. And they want to entertain. With the Texas State Forest Festival just weeks away a compromise has been reached, according to Tara Watson-Watkins, president and CEO of The Chamber.

“We’ve just got to step up and protect, so we felt like that the easiest way to do that and continue to have a festival was to let go of all our group competitions.”

The 50th annual Southern Hushpuppy Championships, car show and bar-b-que competitions and East Texas cheerleading is now scheduled for the spring.

But keep Sept. 16-19 circled on your calendar.

“There’s still going to be a Forest Festival,” assured Watson-Watkins. “The great part is you’re still going to have a carnival. We have the midway with all the incredible food vendors that are going to be there. We’re excited to bring in some brand-new entertainment.”

In addition, the admission price will be half of what it normally is, with entry costing $3.

A closed arena sends all events outside. Even so, “we do highly recommend everyone wear a mask,” said Watson-Watkins.

Planners stated no event can be completely risk-free. They’re counting on participants to help present as safe of an event as they can.

“We’re encouraging people to get vaccinated. We’re encouraging people to wear masks, not because anyone is telling you to do it, but just because it’s the right thing to do and it’s the easiest way to protect our children, our grandparents and ourselves.”

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