MDA pulls out of Fall Ride, Tomahawk Main Street plans events
Thunder Parade permit approved
By Jalen Maki
TOMAHAWK – The Tomahawk Common Council approved Tomahawk Main Street Inc.’s special event permit for the Fall Ride Thunder Parade slated for Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, with a 6 to 3 vote at its meeting on Tuesday, June 2, the same day the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) announced it had canceled its Fall Ride events at SARA Park due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Common Council approved Main Street’s permit application for Fall Ride festivities downtown at its March meeting.
Fall Ride is scheduled to take place from Sept. 17-20.
Main Street planning downtown events
Main Street Director Aimee Dickrell said the group is planning events downtown despite MDA cancelling their portion of the Fall Ride festivities at SARA Park.
“As we continue to plan, we will update the community as to what other decisions we will be faced with and ultimately make on our portion,” she stated.
Council members discussed the impact COVID-19 safety recommendations could have on the gathering. Dickrell said Main Street is working to follow safety recommendations from the Lincoln County Health Department and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.
District 2 alderperson Jeff Kahle pointed out that recommendations in June could be different than those in September.
“Knowing we’re 100 days out, those (recommendations) could change drastically. We are going forward, and we will to continue to adapt as need be as we get closer to the event timeframe,” Dickrell said.
Numerous council members suggested delaying the vote on the Thunder Parade permit until July to have a better idea of what COVID-19 recommendations will be in September, but the council ultimately approved the permit, with Kahle, District 1 alderpersons Ed Nystrom and Patricia E. Haskin, District 2 alderpersons Will Garske and Dale Ernst, and District 3 alderperson Tadd Wegener in favor. District 1 alderperson Mickey Loka and District 3 alderpersons Steve “Ding” Bartz and Mike Loka were opposed.
MDA cancels its Fall Ride activities at SARA Park
Hours before the Common Council approved Main Street’s Thunder Parade permit, MDA announced it had canceled its Fall Ride events at SARA Park.
“At this time, MDA leadership and I have made the extremely difficult decision to cancel Tomahawk Fall Ride at SARA Park to Benefit MDA for 2020,” MDA Executive Director Murphy Maes said in an email on Tuesday, June 2. “With the uncertainty of what is to come with COVID-19 we simply cannot risk the responsibility of any illnesses for our guests, customers and MDA clients. In order for MDA to keep the promises we have made to move our mission forward for 2020, we are not carrying any event insurance at this time and we do not know when we will be bringing that back.”
SARA Park on W. Somo Avenue was previously MDA’s headquarters during Fall Ride, which has raised millions of dollars to benefit MDA since 1983, including over $101,000 last year.