Bluegrass & Chili Festival (copy)

Fourteen-time Grammy award winner Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder wowed the audience during the 40th Annual Bluegrass & Chili Festival held Sept. 6, 2019 in downtown Wagoner. CHRISTY WHEELAND/AMERICAN-TRIBUNE

To put on any large festival, it takes advance planning and dedicated volunteers.

That certainly also applies to the 41st annual Bluegrass and Chili Festival set to begin Sept. 11-12 in downtown Wagoner.

The planning must take place in spite of the unsettled nature of the current COVID-19 pandemic. Festival officials are keenly aware of the changing situation.

Even if things change in the next 49 days, planning must begin now for the event that will feature music, food, and car and tractor shows with vendors everywhere.

“We’re still on a week-by-week basis,” said BGCF director Dell Davis said. “We could still have to call it off (depending on the virus situation).

“We are still planning for the event unless some executive order comes down. We have to be ready and go either way.”

Right now, the festival is putting out the call for entries to the festival market, tractor show, car show, for chili cook-off competitors and the much-needed volunteer talent.

“The volunteers will help with festival coupons, shuttling people and manning the parking lots,” Davis added. “We have to have them. They are our VIPs.”

Volunteers that are willing to help can contact the Downtown Wagoner Corp., at 918 577-1772 to sign-up. If you are unable to register to volunteer, call the City of Wagoner as a back-up plan.

The entertainment is still being contracted. Davis said the acts coming will be announced at a later date, but music fans can expect some of the favorites from past events returning.

Davis added that the collectible Festival poster is in the finishing stages and will be unveiled soon.

Davis has weathered every possible monkey wrench Mother Nature can throw at this late summer festival.

“I’ve been through hail, rain, torrential wind and now a pandemic,” she said. “The heat last year was horrible. I fear the heat (keeping people away).”

The festival will have an added bonus for 2020. The Wagoner Historical Museum will be open during the two-day run.

Last year, it was still being renovated and could not show off the Wagoner city history display or the Jim Halsey country music collection.