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COVID-19 causes cancellations in Bragg Creek

Community events in Bragg Creek – including the Skuzzy Beach Party in benefit of Bragg Creek Community Centre – have been cancelled due to the novel coronavirus. File Photo/Rocky View Weekly

To limit the spread of COVID-19, community events like fundraisers and festivals are being cancelled or postponed everywhere. Bragg Creek is no exception.

Bragg Creek Community Association’s (BCCA) Skuzzy Beach Party fundraiser, originally scheduled for March 21, is among the events placed on hold.

“We were looking at the recommendations, and when they started talking about limiting functions that were more than 250 people, that’s when we started seriously considering that maybe we shouldn’t run this event,” said BCCA past president Peggy Rupert, who heads the fundraising committee. “Obviously, we were hoping for at least 250 people.”

The annual fundraiser is a significant source of income for BCCA, she said, and postponing it will have an impact on the organization, which is contending with an aging building in need of repairs and renovations.

Tentatively, BCCA is looking at scheduling the fundraiser in the fall, eyeing a possible date of Oct. 24.

“As opposed to being a kick-off to summer party, it will be a ‘don’t let summer end’ party,” Rupert said.

The event, which has already seen significant preparation, can likely be pulled off in relatively short order, she said.

“Everybody’s just kind of on park right now, and we’re just waiting for the word to go ahead with things,” Rupert said. “We’ll just be patient.”

In the meantime, the association is looking at moving forward with some fundraising components that were meant to be part of the beach party and don’t require human contact. Continuing with a 50/50 draw was initially on the table, she said, but as tickets for the draw must be purchased, it may not be possible to hold while people practice social distancing and self-isolation.

A silent auction, however, could be held online, she said. An online board meeting occurred March 23 (after press time) to discuss options, according to Rupert.

Other Bragg Creek mainstays are also on hold. In a press release March 12, the Taste of Bragg Creek committee announced its decision to postpone its annual event. Taste of Bragg Creek was originally scheduled for April 3, and is now slated for Sept. 25.

“We recognize that hosting a food sampling event for 1,000-plus attendees in a small community centre setting may pose a health risk to attendees, volunteers and our vendors,” the release stated. “We are being proactive in recognizing that the COVID-19 situation may reach a new level…which could result in low attendance and vendors choosing to pull out.”

The cancellation of community events is more significant than just halting the flow of funds to local businesses or non-profits, Rupert said. In a community like Bragg Creek, which she described as “sort of an island” comprised of many geographically remote and rural residents, community events are an important source of connection and social interaction.

“We already have a distancing between a lot of our neighbours,” she said. “There’s already a physical disconnect, and events like these bring people back together and give us that contact, reminding us that they’re still part of that community and that they’re taken care of.”

Not having that opportunity to gather, Rupert said, may contribute further to a sense of isolation for individuals and families that may also have limited Internet accessibility and human interaction.

“Not having that opportunity to have that physical contact and catch up and touch base with your neighbours is going to be difficult for a lot of people,” she said.

Follow our COVID-19 special section for the latest local and national COVID-19 news, resources, FAQs and more.

Ben Sherick,
Follow me on Twitter @BenSherick

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