Big Hat Days, an annual event since 1938 was back this past weekend after having to be cancelled due to COVID-19 last year.
What usually takes place the first week of April to kick off the rodeo season, was moved to the June 12-13 weekend.
On Saturday, the event opened from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., giving attendees an opportunity to get more comfortable with gathering in a public place and get vaccinated if they choose.
“This is the 83rd annual Big Hat Days,” said Greg Newman, CEO of the Clovis Chamber of Commerce. “We worked with the Fresno County Health Department and City of Clovis, and we came up with a plan to have a safe event for our community.”
These plans included signs scattered throughout the event asking for people to wear masks and to keep a physical distance of 6 feet apart as well as having hand sanitizer stations.
Although there were no carnival rides or petting zoos this year, there were still the traditional attractions like the Kiddie Train and live music at the Michelob Ultra Beer Garden.
“We’ll certainly be bringing those back for the next Big Hat Days,” said Newman.
Although changes had to be made this year, the vendors, both returning and new, lined the streets looking forward to bringing in some support for their businesses.
“This is our first year here” said Erick Trejo, a vendor representing his business Artesania Pereria-artisanal handmade products.
He was ecstatic about being able to come to this event, and just socialize with the attendees without fear.
“Everyone just helps eachother out, it’s good to see that again” said Trejo.
He was not alone with that opinion, as you walked around the event there were attendees and families without masks, smiling, and just enjoying being able to have natural human interactions with people.
“You get to see the interaction between the mountain folk, country folk, city folk, everyone” said Cody Hall, who has been attending Big Hat Days for ten years prior to COVID-19.
This event didn’t stop at just helping people feel human again, it also helped the economy.
“Folks are coming out spending money, eating at our restaurants, going to our gas stations, staying in the hotels,” said Newman.
This event was possible thanks to the Clovis Chamber of Commerce for taking the steps they need to take to ensure safety, the vendors for being part of this event after a time of uncertainty and hindering success and the attendees for coming out and showing their support for their community.
“[Big Hat Days] is a community generational event that brings together the best of Clovis and it’s the Clovis way of life,” said Newman.