Spectators watch the Fireworks Extravaganza at Ferry Island during Riverboat Days in 2018. (Quinn Bender/Terrace Standard)

COVID-19 sinks Terrace’s Riverboat Days

Terrace Riverboat Days Society still wants locals to “Celebrate the Spirit of the Skeena” in August

Terrace Riverboat Days are officially cancelled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

While Terrace’s largest community festival will not be happening per usual, the Terrace Riverboat Days Society is still encouraging residents to “Celebrate the Spirit of the Skeena” in August.

The society is consulting with local organizations to plan activities that can be done virtually or in small groups to celebrate the heritage and culture of the area.

Starting in July, the Riverboat Days website will feature activities keeping with the spirit of the festival. The society is working with Heritage Park Museum and the Skeena Salmon Art Festival Society to create maps of historical landmarks and new art in Terrace that families can explore together.

The Terrace Riverboat Days Society expects that a few local organizations will be able to host some community events that usually would happen at the festival, except they would be smaller and comply with COVID-19 prevention measures.

“I do know there is still a possibility that concerts in the park can happen, their headliner is cancelled but we may have local bands so that’s not out of the question, they just haven’t figured out how that’s going to work,” said Kam Siemens, president of the Terrace Riverboat Days Society.

Staple events like the Legion parade, beach blast volleyball and a movie in George Little Park cannot happen this year due to physical distancing guidelines.

Also, funding for those events comes largely from sponsorships from local businesses.

“While businesses are just trying to get acquainted with what the new norm is, how they are going to adjust their business, we did not feel like it was right to ask for sponsorships,” said Siemens.

Riverboat Days takes place during the week of the B.C. Day long weekend in August. Its several large events and sports tournaments draw visitors from around B.C. and out of province.

The festival has been held for more than 30 years, and until this year has never been cancelled.

Incorporated in 1992, the Terrace Riverboat Days Society handles logistical matters and coordinates and advertises the festival. Last year, Riverboat Days offered nearly 50 events over the course of 10 days.

READ MORE: Riverboat Days 2019 parade in photos


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