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By Karla Pomeroy

The News Editorial: What a difference a year makes


August 5, 2021

Last year after fair ended that was it for events thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic and then everyone waited with bated breath to see if students would indeed be returning to the classroom.

This year, fair week has just ended and August is just gearing up with events and activities in Washakie, Hot Springs and Big Horn counties and Worland schools announced that students will be in the classrooms, starting the year without a mask mandate.

If you think it’s been a quiet summer, you have missed a lot but August is packed full of fun, starting this week with fair week in Basin and Thermopolis and then Thermopolis has a busy weekend with the Wyoming Discovery Days and Gift of the Waters Pageant.

Wyoming Discovery Days is the Big Horn Basin Folk Festival reinvented with demonstrations and music going all day in Hot Springs State Park.

The annual pageant is at 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and retells the story of when the hot springs were given to the state by the Native Americans from the Wind River Reservation.

The end of the fair in Big Horn County includes a rodeo Saturday night and demolition derby Sunday afternoon.

But the fun doesn’t stop there. Shakespeare in the Parks returns to Worland on Tuesday, Aug. 10 at Sanders Park.

Then fast forward to the weekend Aug. 13-15 and the 20th Nowoodstock music festival returns after a COVID break last year. As always organizer Pat O’Brien has provided a musical lineup with quite a variety, noting that people enjoy listening to different types of music and not all the same style all weekend.

Ten Sleep’s own Jalan Crossland and Lacy Nelson are among the list of talent. There are bluegrass bands, funk, soul, salsa African funk, punk rock and more.

Also, that same weekend is the annual (minus COVID year) Thermopolis Demolition Derby on Saturday, Aug. 14.

Finally, just before the summer fun comes to an end the Wyoming BBQ Championship & Bluegrass Festival returns after its COVID break last year. The brewfest kick starts the weekend on Thursday, Aug. 19, and then savory barbecue aroma and bluegrass sounds will fill the air at the Washakie County Fairgrounds on Friday and Saturday.

It is exciting to have all of these events come back this summer and it is exciting to see life returning to some sense of normalcy. However, while we are fortunate in Washakie County to be in a low transmission area, COVID-19 is still here, as is the flu, and precautions should still be taken.

It is still OK to social distance – albeit it is getting harder in stores as you wait in line and people cut in front of you (just saying).

It is OK to stay home if you are sick. Staying home when you are ill was stressed pre-COVID but not really adhered to much, during COVID and will continue to be stressed post-COVID.

While your body may handle the flu, COVID or any other virus symptoms just fine, the person you may spread it to may not.

You can wear a mask if you like – it is not being mandated in the state.

Consider getting the vaccine. Yes it is similar to the flu vaccine – you may still get COVID, but symptoms for vaccinated COVID patients have been much less severe.

Be respectful and not judgmental of your fellow man whether they are vaccinated or not, whether they wear a mask or not.

Most all be thankful that we get to enjoy events like last week’s fair and all the many wonderful festivities this month and go have some fun.

-- Karla Pomeroy


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