COVID cancels Taft chamber's Christmas Parade, trout derby

Doug Keeler
Midway Driller Editor @midwaydriller
Fishermen crowd shoreline at recent Taft Chamber of Commerce Trout Derby

It looks like there will be no trout derby or Christmas parade for Taft this year.

Both big events, sponsored by the Taft District Chamber of Commerce, are victims of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The chamber pulled the plug on the popular Taft Chamber of Commerce Trout Derby and the annual Taft Christmas Parade. 

The trout derby normally draws several thousand people to Buena Vista Aquatic Recreation Area and the parade draws several thousand people to line Center Street on the first Monday in December.

Chamber executive Director Kathy Orrin said the reasons for cancelling the parade is two-fold.

First is liability.

"We have no reason to believe we are going to have a parade," said Orrin. "It (all) comes down to liability.”

In simple terms, if anyone attending the parade catches COVID-19, the chamber could be liable.

Getting enough entries is another problem.

Most entries come from groups that have been meeting all along -- church groups, youth groups and the like, Orrin said No one has been meeting due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The trout derby, traditionally a major fundraiser, is another casualty of the pandemic. The chamber was told earlier this year by Kern County Parks officials that it wouldn't approve a permit for any event drawing such a large number of people.

The county has, however, apparently issued a permit for the Shaver Lake Triathlon, which is being relocated this year due to the massive Creek Fire.

Chamber Director of Operations and Marketing Shannon Miller said its simply too late to try to put trout derby on this year even if the county reversed its earlier decision.

She is leaving the chamber soon and with the derby date of Nov. 21, there's not enough time to train someone to handle her role.