Autumn is arriving in Butts County and while thoughts are turning towards events that usually take place this time of the year, much has changed in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the need to ensure social distancing. Jackson and Butts County have been very proactive on this front, and while some decisions have not always been popular, community leaders are sometimes required to make difficult decisions that benefit the public the most. Because of this need, decisions had to be made ahead of time to cancel certain public events that would be impossible to enact the required social distancing measures that are required.

First off, the annual Chamber of Commerce Fall Festival will be cancelled in downtown Jackson. The City Council voted on September 15th not to issue a permit for the event, which usually draws a couple of thousand people through the day to the downtown square for music, food, arts, crafts and other entertainment. Because of the continuing threat of contracting and spreading COVID 19, the Fall Festival will be off the calendar this year.

Additionally, the annual Christmas Parade will not be held in December either. This event, usually the largest and most encompassing downtown event of the year has also been deemed to be unsafe at this time and because floats have to be ordered well in advance, the decision needed to be made now about whether it would be held.

In a joint statement issued by the City of Jackson and the Chamber of Commerce, Jackson Mayor Kay Pippin announced on Wednesday that these cautionary measures are in accordance with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control, the White House Task Force on the Coronavirus, Governor Kemp’s Executive Orders and the Georgia District Public Health Office to avoid crowded areas.

“Cancelling these beloved events saddens us, but we must stay vigilant in our actions if we wish to protect the health of our community by slowing the spread of COVID-19,” says Mayor Pippin.  “As we head into the holiday season, if we relax our attitudes and preventative measures, we could inadvertently spread the virus and cause its consequences in our community to worsen.”

“We thank the members of the Butts County Chamber of Commerce for their hard work over the years to make these two events highlights of our holiday season and we pledge to work with them to bring them back, bigger and better than ever in 2021!” said Mayor Pippin.

Josh Thomas, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Butts County Chamber of Commerce stated, “The health and safety of the children, elderly and families in our community are of the utmost importance and while this cancellation is certainly a disappointment, we know it was not made lightly and is the best course of action given the current circumstances.”   Thomas continued, “We encourage everyone to take precautionary measures to keep yourself and your family safe and heathy, and look forward to better days ‘together’ when our lives return to a sense of normalcy.”

Certain other private events that happen during the fall have not yet been determined, as these decisions will be made by those entities and organizations. While it is no doubt a disappointment to many, there are still a lot of outdoor activities that can enjoyed in Butts County…hiking, fishing, boating, golf, canoeing and kayaking just to name a few. Our state parks are open and Dauset Trails Nature Center is still available, although just for the biking and hiking trails as of this writing. Lake activities continue as well.

We’ll continue to monitor the situation with COVID and its impact on our community and post changes where necessary. We hope all of you stay safe and well!

Michael