Citing pandemic, chamber cancels Western Days

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the cancellation of festivals and events across the state, and Mustang’s Western Days is the latest casualty.
The Mustang Chamber of Commerce announced Friday that it has canceled this year’s celebration, which had been planned for Sept. 11-12.
“With sadness, after much consideration and stakeholder input, the Mustang Chamber Board of Directors has made the difficult decision to cancel Mustang Western Days for 2020,” Chamber President and CEO Renee Peerman said in a news release.
This is the first time in the 47-year history of Western Days that the event has been cancelled, she said.
Because the festival is a collaboration among Mustang civic groups, nonprofits and city government, the cancellation will affect the operating budgets of all the sponsoring organizations, Peerman said.
“However, public health, not the bottom dollar, was the deciding factor in making the decision,” she said. “The board just felt it was the right thing to do.”
Factors that were considered included the participation of student groups, food service and crowd distancing.
“Fear played no part in the discussion during Thursday afternoon’s emergency board meeting, which took place via Zoom,” Peerman said.
Traditionally, Western Days was highlighted by a parade.
Activities included the Stampede Fun Run, a parade, best-dressed cowboy and cowgirl contests, an art show, gunfighters, a coloring contest, and games and activities at Wild Horse Park.
A rodeo was held on Friday and Saturday nights.
Other activities include a 5k run, a pancake breakfast, a car show, a chuckwagon dinner, a street dance, vendor booths, food trucks, a chili cook-off and live music.
Crowd size has been estimated as high as 30,000, Peerman said.
Many families come back to town for Western Days, she said.
“Seeing families lining the streets with lawn chairs and pickup beds full of laughing children anticipating the parade, reconnecting with friends you have not seen in years, all while shopping the arts and crafts booths accompanied by the local entertainment, leaves a special memory in your heart,” she said.

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