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No Blue Marble Jubilee this year

The Grass Valley Charter School Foundation’s annual Blue Marble Jubilee will not be held this year.

The event, a day-long Earth-themed festival begun at the Nevada County Fairgrounds in May 2017, has not been held since 2018.

In 2019, organizers announced that the festival was canceled, “out of an abundance of caution,” after an online conspiracy theory and alleged threat, which local authorities deemed not credible, surfaced about the event.

Event organizers announced last spring that the festival was canceled for a second time, as the COVID-19 pandemic and related restrictions on gatherings continued to develop.

“It’s heartbreaking,” said Wendy Willoughby, president of the Grass Valley Charter School Foundation and one of the creators of the event, on the decision not to plan the festival this year.

Described by Willoughby last year as having “taken on this life as a kind of spring celebration for us all to come together,” the Blue Marble Jubilee festival served as a fundraiser for Grass Valley Charter School’s students to participate in “field work,” or expeditionary adventure programs.

According to Willoughby, it became clear that the event would not be possible early this year, as the county remained in the purple, or “widespread,” statewide COVID-19 risk tier, and the logistics of organizing vendors and entertainment seemed out of reach.

In addition, said Willoughby, it did not seem like the right move for the parent volunteers involved in the foundation to organize a virtual alternative to the event, as many realized it was best to instead prioritize navigating the year’s challenges — including helping their children through a modified school year.

While this is Whilloughby’s final year as a Grass Valley Charter School parent, she is hopeful the event will return.

“I believe I’m not alone in that, just because we’ve had to let go, doesn’t mean we have to say goodbye,” said Willoughby, adding that she looks forward to the experiences future fundraising will be able to provide students.

Victoria Penate is a staff writer for The Union. She can be reached at vpenate@theunion.com.

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