MCCALL, Idaho (KLIX)-Rising cases of COVID-19 in Idaho has force organizers of the McCall Winter Carnival to cancel the event for next year.

The McCall Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau announced Monday the cancelation of the 56th Annual McCall Winter Carnival that was slated to start January 29 and run to February 7, in 2021. According to the McCall Chamber, increased virus counts, currently hospital capacity across the state, and tougher restrictions for public and private gatherings are why the decision was made not host the event next year. "It was an extremely difficult decision and we are deeply disappointed," McCall Area Chamber spokesperson McKenzie Kraemer said in a prepared statement. "The McCall Winter Carnival is not only a fun tradition for many people, but it also provides a large economic boost for our local businesses."

During the 10-day winter celebration featuring activities such as snow and ice carvings, parade, vendors and much more centered around the winter season, roughly 60,000 people visit the small mountain town about 100 miles north of Boise. Organizers had made plans to deal with the virus back in October, however the changing current conditions forced them to reevaluate those plans. "Our hope is that we can still provide some of the experiences you would find at Winter Carnival," Kraemer said, "just spread out over several months rather than concentrated in 10 days. Our priority has always been the health and safety of our residents and visitors. We could not in good conscience promote an event that would go against current restrictions on public gatherings and COVID-19 safety measures."

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