By Lani Hansen, Reporter
OKMULGEE, Oklahoma– The Muscogee (Creek) Nation Tourism and Recreation team has canceled the 2020 Muscogee Nation Festival.
The Muscogee Nation Festival began in 1974, with a softball tournament and an all-Indian rodeo with additional activities serving as a reunion of sorts for Muscogee people. Today, the festival is a celebration of the culture, heritage and togetherness of the Muscogee people providing a safe and fun atmosphere with free admission to 25 or more activities and live concerts open to all people of all ages.
This year MCN would have celebrated their 46th annual festival. According to the Tourism and Recreation Department along with the Nation’s Administration, on July 22 the announcement of the cancellation was made.
“We had to cancel because of the virus,” Director of Tourism and Recreation Kyle Lee said. “There was a concern of hosting an event that large to the public, it did not feel like it was a good idea concerning what is going on in the world.”
This would be the first year they have canceled the festival, according to Lee. As far as it goes for next year’s festival, Lee did not have much to say about the planning. They will continue to monitor situations and see what they are allowed to do with their budget.
With the cancellation, citizens provided feedback to the department which was all positive notes.
“Everyone said it was the right thing to do, and we didn’t really get any negative feedback at all,” Lee said. “People were glad we was putting everyone’s health first.”
Before cancelling the festival, they had talk to other tribes who host big celebrations as well. Many others have already canceled their celebrations, which helped Tourism and Recreation decide to cancel.
Along with the festival, the MCN scholarship pageant has also been canceled. Since the pageant does coincide with the festival, Royalty Coordinator Shelby Botone said that is where they introduce the new royalty and is their biggest event.
“We felt that since this year is uncertain and we are definitely in some unprecedented times right now, its best that we don’t have the competition this year and wait until next year,” Botone said.
Although the pageant has been canceled, the committee has extended the reign of the current royalty. Botone said the current Miss MCN could not extend hers but Jr. Miss MCN Jadyn Randall accepted and extended her reign until 2021.
“The current Jr. Miss will end her reign next year, but right now we are focusing on changes and upgrades to our current program,” Botone said. “As far as how Jr. Miss goes it will probably be more of video content like virtual reign, just because there isn’t anything going on right now.”
Botone hopes to make next year’s pageant the best one yet.
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