Harvey Shields, from Saxman, Alaska, leads the Cape Fox Dancers during the Grand Entrance of the Sealaska Heritage Institute Celebration 2014 march from the Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall to Centennial Hall.This year’s Celebration has been postponed. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Harvey Shields, from Saxman, Alaska, leads the Cape Fox Dancers during the Grand Entrance of the Sealaska Heritage Institute Celebration 2014 march from the Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall to Centennial Hall.This year’s Celebration has been postponed. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Celebration 2020 is postponed

New dates are in 2021.

The Sealaska Heritage Institute Board of Trustees decided to postpone Celebration 2020 to next year amid concerns about the COVID-19 coronavirus and its spread in Alaska in recent days, SHI announced Friday.

The every-other-year dance-and-culture event, originally scheduled June 10-13 in Juneau, is now planned for June 2-5 of 2021, according to the Juneau-based nonprofit that protects and promotes Alaska Native arts, culture and languages.

Celebration is one of the largest cultural events in the state, attracting nearly 2,000 dancers and an additional 4,000 attendees to the four-day event. Celebration is also a financial boon for Juneau, according to research. A study by the McDowell Group in 2012 found that the economic impact of Celebration that year was $2 million during the four-day event.

[SHI means millions for Juneau’s coffers]

SHI will explore ways to bring virtual events to the public this year through its social media platforms. One idea is to host a Facebook or YouTube watch party and show Celebration 2018 during the days Celebration 2020 would have streamed. That would bring people together virtually in a space where they could watch the performances and events together and talk to each other online, said SHI President Rosita Worl in a release.

“We could also have designers and artists photograph themselves in the pieces they made for the fashion show and set up a gallery on our website. We could do the same thing for the Toddler Regalia Review. We could curate a virtual exhibit for the Juried Art Show,” Worl said in a release. “We could come together online and through social media and celebrate together this year, no matter the crisis that is all around us.”

SHI is also inviting the public to weigh in with feedback and ideas on ways to organize virtual events by making suggestions through heritage@sealaska.com.

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