TWIN FALLS — Summertime means gatherings with family and friends at some of your favorite community events.
But with COVID-19 cancelling or postponing some events, organizers are moving some components of events online. Others are hosting events exclusively online.
Online Pagan Gathering
The Summer Solstice Pagan Fest will celebrate its third year on June 20 by holding the entire event online.
Wendy Koffer of Magic Valley Pagans & Witches said she and other members started making preparations in March to move the event online. In early May the group decided it didn’t want to take the risk of spreading COVID-19 due to their gathering.
“As Pagans and Witches, we believe in science and we value life, whether that’s the planet and environment or human beings,” Koffer said. “Putting people at unnecessary risk for illness or death is contrary to the values we hold sacred.”
Koffer said Pagan Fest was created to help fundraise, showcase talents and serve as a means for other Pagans, witches and kindred spirits to socialize.
“We always think maybe 50 people will show up, but it usually turns out to be several hundred,” Koffer said.
Attendees come from Idaho and as far away as Utah, Nevada and Montana. Koffer said everyone is welcome regardless of their beliefs.
“Pagan Fest is an opportunity for community members to come out of their broom closets for a bit,” she said. “Many practitioners of minority religious and spiritual paths feel afraid to be open about their beliefs. This makes them feel alone, isolated and invisible. They often feel the need to hide and keep their beliefs secret, or else face discrimination, bigotry or violence against them.”
Organizers plan to use live streaming to facilitate vendors and workshops. Event-goers can log in to the live streaming for free and join group events.
“We have never done something like this before, so there will be a lot of trial and error,” Koffer said. “We anticipate a learning curve to navigate through the vendors and events. Technology doesn’t do a great job of simulating a real-world experience, so we’re testing different ways to make it kind of like you’re there.”
They will be able to click links to visit private spaces for readings, shop with vendors, view pre-recorded videos, join live events and chat rooms, and participate in free classes and circles. All the information to participate will be published on the group’s Facebook pages and event listings.
“We don’t know what we don’t know, and the biggest challenge is that we will probably not realize we needed to set up a feature until after everything is underway (or when it’s too late to change it),” Koffer said. “We’re all volunteers, and we’ll do our very best with the resources we have available. We are depending on everyone to be understanding and patient with us.”
Virtual Farm Tour
Magic Valley Dairy Days has celebrated the importance and impact of the dairy industry in the region for more than 20 years.
This year’s event has been canceled due to COVID-19, but people can still learn about the dairy industry with a virtual tour with Deb Easterday Reeves of White Harvest Farms in Buhl from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Friday at facebook.com/UnbottleGreatness/live.
The event is organized by Unbottled, the consumer brand of Dairy West, an organization that helps farmers in Idaho and Utah promote dairy foods and farming by educating consumers about dairy foods.
Melinda Wolfe, producer and community relations manager of Unbottled, said virtual tours are often held for school groups.
“We’ve done virtual dairy tours for a while but this is the first time offering it for Magic Valley Dairy Days in lieu of participating.”
Wolfe said they are considering hosting another virtual dairy farm tour for next year’s event.
“People can see how they take care of the cows and the milking process,” Wolfe said. “People can watch this live and in the comments ask her questions and get more information. We will love for people to join and learn more about dairy farming.”
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