Fulton County Health Department still debating fate of Trail of Courage Festival

Published: Sep. 17, 2020 at 5:44 PM EDT
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FULTON COUNTY, Ind. (WNDU) - The Fulton County Health Department has yet to sign off on a signature community festival that is scheduled to start this Saturday.

Last year’s version of the Trail of Courage Festival drew some 13,000 people.

Organizers have yet to come up with an acceptable plan to prevent the spread of the coronavirus at this year’s event.

“The new plans that we submitted are going to restrict 2,500 people back into the festival area at a time so we would be calculating and have wrist bands and keep track of those numbers,” explained Melinda Clinger, Director of the Fulton County Historical Society Museum.

Living history enthusiasts who travel the country portraying characters of the past are already setting up camp on the museum grounds to take part in this year’s festival, should it be permitted.

“I do three different ones a year,” said Stanley Carlisle who came from Howard County Indiana. "Red Bud, which is here in April—It was cancelled. Howard County Fair was not. Went on without a hitch. "

“We were in Lebanon Indiana last month,” added Kathy Nadeau from Illinois. “they had a very small event. They only allowed so many public in there which was good.”

The museum property is ten acres although five acres is heavily wooded.

“You know if you divide that by six foot distancing and everything you know you can still get quite a few people into that space,” Clinger said.

Organizers are so anxious to hold what would be the 45th annual Trail of Courage Festival that they considered staging the event without the blessings of the health department.

That would have required having everyone in the crowd sign a waiver promising not to sue over possible exposure to communicable disease.

“At this point I would say no it’s not an option,” said Clinger, who said she has been working with the health department on the matter since July.

The future of the festival will likely be decided at a special meeting of the Fulton County Board of Health set for Friday at 4:30 p.m.

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