We have all been affected in some way by the COVID-19 virus restrictions placed upon us since April, including wearing face masks when leaving our homes, staying away from our loved ones, working from home or unfortunately, loss of employment.

As we all know, the state, counties and municipalities have all implemented social restrictions to help reduce the chances of the virus' spread such as requiring 6 feet of space between each other and a maximum of 250 in mass gatherings at this time.

After careful consideration and much deliberation on this matter, we have determined that to maintain the family fun atmosphere the Jesse James Festival offers every year and still be within the social distancing requirement will not be possible. Therefore, in the best interest of those attending the festival and our community, the 2020 Jesse James Festival is cancelled for September 2020.

We would like to express our appreciation to all for your understanding in the undertaking of this hard decision.

The Jesse James Festival Committee, Inc. is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization consisting of a group of volunteers that donate 12 months their time, labor, resources and finances to coordinate and put on the festival with no outside financing from the city, county or state. The festival literally must pay for itself, which includes security, entertainers, performances, the carnival, rodeo, derby and insurance for the festival. If contracts are signed with a commitment of payment and the city, county or state makes the decision that the event cannot be held, payment must still be made yet there would be no income to cover those expenses.

As such, the 50th Jesse James Festival is scheduled for Sept. 10 to 11 and 16 to 19, 2021, and we are taking this opportunity to schedule entertainment and make improvements for a bigger and better 50th Jesse James Festival in 2021.

Dan Colt

festival committee president

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