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Coon Dog Day postponed

Annual Saluda festival postponed again because of COVID

SALUDA—People will have to wait another year to enjoy the annual Coon Dog Day Festival in Saluda. 

The Saluda Board of Commissioners met Monday and approved postponing the festival until 2022. The festival was not held last year either because of the pandemic and restrictions on outdoor gatherings. 

Saluda Mayor Fred Baisden began the discussion by saying if the festival was going to be held this year the city needs to begin planning. 

Commissioner Stan Walker said the city does not know what the guidelines will be in July and suggested waiting until next year. Coon Dog Day is normally held the Saturday following July 4. The festival draws thousands of people every year and includes a parade, a hunt, dog judging, vendors, races, a dance and children’s activities. 

City manager Steven Orr suggested Saluda could do pods and scale down the festival this year depending on the state’s restrictions to create separation. He suggested more of a street festival that honors Coon Dog Day’s history, or doing something smaller in McCreery Park. 

“You still have it, you honor the history of it, however, it’s a lot smaller,” Orr said. “The third option is to not have it at all.” 

Commissioners discussed sending out invitations for the festival as well as having the committee possibly working on something much smaller. 

Commissioner Paul Marion said the city could do something smaller for the community instead of trying to bring in 10,000 people. 

Walker said he thinks to be on the safe side, the festival should be postponed until next year and all commissioners agreed after a short discussion. 

Other festivals in the county were postponed last year as well because of the pandemic. The annual Steeplechase, usually held in the spring was cancelled last year as well as the Columbus Fabulous Fourth Festival. This year’s Steeplechase, originally scheduled for April 10 has been rescheduled for June 5 this year. 

Tryon International Equestrian Center is planning to allow current Steeplechase ticket holders to attend the 2021 race provided that federal and state restrictions for public events are lifted by June. Currently, state restrictions in North Carolina would not allow an event even outdoors with that many in attendance. 

No additional tickets will be sold at this time and the races will be live streamed for the public to watch online.