AS I SEE IT
By Neal A. Shipman
Finding something to do in Watford City and McKenzie County in the summer has never seemed to be a problem in the past. Almost from the day that school ended in the spring until classes started back up in the fall, there has always been a full lineup of special summer events, such as Homefest, the McKenzie County Fair, Ribfest, Arnegard’s Fourth of July and Alexander’s Old Settlers’ Day that people could look forward to attending.
But this year, thanks to COVID-19 one by one all of this year’s summer events have been cancelled.
While it is understandable that the major events had to be cancelled in order to prevent an outbreak of COVID-19 in our county, that doesn’t mean that Watford City and McKenzie County can’t have smaller events that people can enjoy.
A case in point was the Summer Kickoff Event held at Stonehome Brewing on July 1, and at the Eagles Club’s early Fourth of July on July 3. It was great to see people being able to interact with each other, enjoy some music and food, play games and take in a fireworks show.
Was there a risk in having these events? Sure there was. But if you asked the hundreds of people who took in the fun evenings, the risk was worth it. People are so tired of being told not to go to places, and not to gather with their friends and family or others at a public gathering for fear of unleashing the coronavirus on others.
Yes, we have to be cautious of spreading or contracting COVID-19, but we also need to be able to enjoy life. We, as humans, don’t function well by living alone. We are social creatures. We need the companionship of our friends and family and to be socially active or we begin to suffer mentally.
So here is the challenge to the Watford City Area Chamber of Commerce and to other groups and organizations in the community. We have about seven weeks of summer left before school starts, so let’s try to come up with some fun family events that people can come to. They can be nothing more than some old tried and true events like Crazy Days, Sidewalk Sales or Back-To-School Days. Maybe some groups would want to sell hotdogs, brats and burgers. Maybe some local musicians could come together to perform. Maybe some of our local youth groups could find a way to have children’s activities.
You know, just find a way to have some fun in the last few weeks that we have remaining of summer.
Yes, COVID-19 has made for some very challenging times. But we all need some degree of normalcy in our lives and in our communities.