Durango’s annual cabin-fever reliever will take place at the end of the month despite the COVID-19 surge that is resulting in more than 200 positive cases per day on average in La Plata County.
The first Snowdown was held in Durango in 1979. Since then, the event has grown into a cherished local tradition that has been known to draw people from across the region and as far as the Front Range. Last year, because of the pandemic, the Snowdown board of directors decided the winter festival could not be held responsibly.
This year, the board decided to move forward with Snowdown, and is leaving it up to individual venues and organizers to decide whether they’re holding events.
This year’s event runs from Jan. 26 to Jan. 30. The theme is “Magical Mystical Snowdown, We Put a Spell on You.”
“We felt if we could do it safely, then we should,” said Chip Lile, Snowdown board of directors chairman.
In a news release this week, the Snowdown board encouraged community members to decide what is best for them regarding their Snowdown event attendance.
The board “strongly recommends” all events require proof of full vaccination, or a negative test result dated no more than five days before the date of the event for all attendees, volunteers, staff members and event participants.
The board plans to have an office open downtown where event attendees can receive wristbands that show proof of vaccination or negative test results. On verifying a negative test result or full vaccination, Snowdown officials will provide people with a wristband. The office location and hours will be posted at Snowdown.org.
Some events have already been canceled because of the COVID-19 surge.
Coordinators for the Fashion Do’s and Don’ts event (which has been a part of the Snowdown tradition for 24 years) announced on its Facebook page Monday that “holding a large indoor luncheon, with a number of volunteers, models, advance meetings and preparation required is untimely considering the current health situation.”
The fashion event is among three other cancellations so far: Snowdown Balloon Rally, Human Foosball and the La Plata County Search and Rescue Pancake Breakfast.
As Snowdown approaches, more events are likely to cancel or make changes. Event attendees can visit Snowdown.org to stay up to date with the schedule.
“Our primary consideration has always been safety. If anything changes between now and Snowdown, we may have to change our schedule, as well,” Lile said. “We are kind of ready for either, and hoping for the best.”