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Palomino Fest 2021 canceled due to high COVID-19 cases in the area

The annual Labor Day event will be canceled for the second straight year after a rise in COVID-19 cases.

Palomino Fest organizers announced Monday (Aug. 9), the decision to cancel the event scheduled for Labor Day weekend due to the current exponential growth of new COVID-19 cases in Uvalde County and the region.

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“The safety, health, and wellness of festival partners, volunteers, and attendees remain a priority for our family-friendly event,” said festival coordinator Wade Carpenter. “When we decided to go forward with this year’s event, the number of COVID-19 cases was low and showed they would continue to trend down. Unfortunately, the positivity rate is high, and vaccination rate is low, which makes it difficult to put on an event that will attract thousands of people to Uvalde.”

Palomino Fest organizing committee members consulted with Dr. Jared Reading of the Uvalde County Health Authority for input before deciding to cancel the event.

In a letter to the Palomino Fest organizing committee, Reading stated the positivity rate in Uvalde County is greater than 20 percent, and the vaccination rate is less than 50 percent.

“Uvalde Memorial Hospital, which serves the five-county area, is currently at capacity with COVID-19 patients, some of them as young as seven,” said Reading. “If the current upward trend holds, then the hospital will be shutting down its operating rooms to shift staff to care for COVID-19 patients by early next week. The San Antonio Hospitals are approaching capacity as well.”

Ticketholders for the festival will receive full refunds this week.

In the meantime, organizers urge everyone to follow the guidelines and protocols put forth by public health officials to stay safe.

Since its inception, Palomino Fest has generated over $225,000 in support for Southwest Texas Junior College students and includes a professional rodeo, carnival rides, downtown parade, and live music.

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