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Oregon Trail Days celebration moved to August

Oregon Trail Days celebration moved to August

OTD Parade 2019::1 (copy)

As Gov. Pete Ricketts walks in the Oregon Trail Days Parade in 2019, he gave a high five to Zayden and Alexis Holten. Zayden thought it was cool the governor came over to see him.

Oregon Trail Days will not take place on it’s traditional second weekend of July, instead likely moving to August with a much different look.

The OT Days committee met Thursday night, and made the determination that the move would be prudent given the current restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic. Instead of the usual four days, committee chairman Tracey Bentley said it would likely be a Friday-Saturday event.

Dates in August are yet to be determined as are the events that will take place. Bentley said they do plan to have a parade, but activities such as the food fair and craft fair are up in the air at this point. Because the date is still yet to be determined and due to the shortened schedule, there will be no carnival.

“We haven’t decided exactly what all we’re going to do, but we do know it’s going to be smaller,” Bentley said. “We do know it’s going to be probably in August, and we are at least going to try to have a parade.”

Bentley said the committee would meet again in a couple of weeks to make further determinations and get the information out so people can begin making plans.

The carnival vendor will not be available to change his schedule for a single event. The carnival’s schedule is typically made well ahead of time, but their schedule has seen other cancellations in addition to Oregon Trail Days.

“We’re usually his first stop on his trip around the United States,” Bentley said. “He’s been canceled at a bunch of other places, too, so there will be no carnival.”

The decisions to delay and shorten the even were difficult for the committee to make, but the changes had to be made to protect the safety of the public.

“We’ve had several meetings with the city, several meetings with the governor,” Bentley said. “I have talked with the governor several times. ... It’s been a collaboration of a bunch of events. The city wants to protect their employees, they want to protect the citizens, they want to protect the visitors that come in for Oregon Trail Days. It’s just at this time, with the way things are going, they just felt it would be best to move it later into the year.

“We still want to have it because this is our 99th in a row," he said. 

PHOTOS: Oregon Trail Days Parade 2019

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Mark McCarthy is a reporter with the Star-Herald and oversees the Gering Courier as editor. He can be reached at 308-632-9049 or via email at

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