The Thebacha and Wood Buffalo Dark Sky Festival, which was set to take place from Aug. 19 to 22, has been cancelled.

The decision was made with regards to the surge of active COVID-19 cases which has been making it’s way through the NWT.

“The thing that sort of triggered us in reconsidering what we were organizing was the articles last evening where the COVID numbers were basically indicating that they had doubled in a 24-hour period,” said Mike Couvrette, the Dark Sky Festival coordinator.

Around 90 people were expected to make their way out to the event before the decision was passed.

“To be quite blunt, my thoughts on it was it scared the hell out of me to think that our Dark Sky Festival had the potential to become a super spreader event,” said Courvette. “Just due to the expediental growth in exposure sites that had been listed and other factors related to the current outbreak.”

This year would’ve marked the Festival’s 10 annual overall. However, no plans are being made to establish a new date at this time.

“At this point, for this year, we’re not planning anything festival-wise,” said Courvette. “As part of our other outreach programming, we will be over the fall or winter doing occasional Zoom presentations … as well, once things are back to normal, here in Fort Smith we would probably do additional outreach activities.”

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