A photo published to the Hay Days Facebook page shows a scene from the 2018 festival.
Hay River will have to do without the Hay Days festival once again. This time, the wildfire that triggered last month’s evacuation is to blame.
Organizers have faced a string of crises to overcome since 2020 as first Covid-19, then a flood and now a wildfire have caused the event to be cancelled.
In a news release on Thursday, the Rotary Club of Hay River Sunrise said the wildfire and subsequent evacuation were the most pressing of several events that “put into question our ability to move forward.”
Evacuation of Hay River and the neighbouring Kátł’odeeche First Nation had “further delayed critical planning elements for the festival,” the club stated, noting the “devastation in our sister community” with First Nation residents still unable to return home.
As a result, events originally scheduled for July 4-9 this year are cancelled.
“Rotary remains concerned about all the uncertainties moving forward. The losses that have occurred to Kátł’odeeche First Nation remain top of mind. We wish to thank all those who are continuing to assist evacuees and fight the wildfires,” stated the club, which has organized Hay Days since 2017.
The club said it looked forward to the festival’s return in 2024.