COVID guidelines will be in effect
By Natalie Johnson
After losing a year to a global pandemic, Winthrop’s 76th annual ’49er Days and the Ride to Rendezvous will be back next month, with a few changes to comply with remaining COVID-19 guidelines.
The event starts Friday, May 7 with the arrival of the Ride to Rendezvous and concludes on Sunday, May 9 — Mother’s Day.
Mayor Sally Ranzau said being in the state’s phase 3 allows the town to have enough people congregate to have a parade and a few other events.
There will be signs around town reminding people to wear masks, and the parade will include periodic announcements on mask wearing and social distancing, she said.
“I feel that giving the people the responsibility for their safety in this case is an okay option,” Ranzau said at the Wednesday (April 21) Winthrop Town Council meeting.
The town council unanimously voted to allow the festival to take place.
Aaron Burkhart, with the Ride to Rendezvous, told the council the riders are planning to come through downtown Winthrop on Friday to kick off ’49er Days, as they have in the past. The ride takes place the week leading up to the festival.
“We have 73 paid guests to date and they are either in a wagon or riding,” he said. “We’ve probably got that many staff so there will probably be 150 in Friday’s parade.”
This year’s ’49er Days is also being called a “heritage festival.”
Parade leads off
Saturday’s festivities start with a “Diamond Rendezvous” themed parade at 11 a.m. followed by old-fashioned games in front of Sheri’s Sweet Shoppe.
“We want this to be a fun event. We want everyone to have a good time,” Ranzau said.
Unlike past years, the ’49er Days will not have a packing competition or auction, but the annual barn dance will be converted into a street dance, weather depending, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. in downtown Winthrop on Saturday, May 8.
The dance will feature the band Johnny Green & The Pack String and will cost $10 per person in advance or in person. A beer garden will be provided by Old Schoolhouse Brewery.
“Street dances have been allowed since phase 2,” said Anna Kominak with the Winthrop Chamber of Commerce at the April 21 council meeting. “It’ll be nice to have something alive again. I will say that we are cutting what we did two and three years ago probably less than half.”
Saturday will also feature outfitter displays at Mack Lloyd Park starting after the parade, crafts, food and other vendors, plus the Outfitter Dinner that night at 5 p.m., costing $25.
“We hope to have 200 at our dinner,” said Burkhart, who added that the event will include cowboy poetry as well.
On Sunday morning, the Mother’s Day cowboy breakfast is scheduled for 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. in Mack Lloyd park. Cost is $10.