UPDATE: All acts still planning to perform at the Hodag Country Festival
All acts are still planning to attend this year's Hodag Country Festival. That's what we're hearing from the owners Wednesday.
The Oneida County Public Safety Committee voted Tuesday to authorize the Large Assembly Permit for the Hodag Country Festival in July.
After discussion and public comment, the committee voted 4-1 to allow the festival to go on.
"The committee took in all the correspondences from emails and telephone calls and the record, said mike Timmons, chairman for the Oneida County Public Safety Committee. "Reviewed those. And we listened to the Oneida County Health Department and listened to the Hodag promoters, and we agreed to move the permit forward."
With the granting of the permit, 25 additional measures will be put into place for this year’s event. Some of those conditions include offering refunds or rollovers for those uncomfortable attending this year, canceling the chair line on Wednesday night, limiting the number of weekend wristbands, providing masks for employees and volunteers, and encouraging festival-goers to wear masks and practice social distancing.
“The sheriff was involved, the Board of Health was involved. Of course, the lawyers were involved. The promoters of the event and the supervisors," said Billy Fried, Public Safety Committee member. "And I think everyone understands the concerns on the health front, I think everyone understands the concerns on an economic standpoint, as well as constitutional rights. And it was a good healthy discussion.”
Dawn Eckert told NewsChannel 7, organizers received a lot of positive feedback from customers, vendors, and volunteers about getting back to a new normal.
The Hodag Country Festival is set to take place July 9 through July 12 in Rhinelander.
ONEIDA COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT RESPONSE TO HODAG COUNTRY FEST LARGE ASSEMBLY PERMIT
The permit for the Hodag Country Festival was issued by the Public Safety Committee at their meeting on 5/26/2020. At that meeting the Oneida County Health Department provided information regarding COVID-19 and guidance from the Onward Oneida County Committee, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and the CDC regarding large assemblies and what precautions should be taken at this time with regard to public gatherings.
After reviewing and discussing the guidance that was provided, the Public Safety Committee made the decision to issue the large assembly permit.
I have no independent authority as the Health Officer of Oneida County to stop the Hodag Country Festival. I would like the public to know that it was not a decision of the Oneida County Health Department to issue the large assembly permit for the Hodag Country Festival.