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Bannock County looks forward to eventful summer, vaccinations pick up


BANNOCK COUNTY, Idaho (KIFI) - After a year of cancellations, postponements, and virtual gatherings, Bannock County is looking forward to an eventful summer.

“We have a full schedule of events planned for this summer, so we’re really excited for the future and what it holds for us,” said Bannock County Commissioner Jeff Hough.

Last year was supposed to be a break-out year for the Portneuf Wellness Complex, but all planned 6 concerts had to be canceled or postponed. Some of the acts, like For King and Country, that were scheduled for 2020 will be rescheduled for this summer, but even more are being planned for 2021.

Bannock County recently signed with a company called Go Out Local, who promotes and creates events in the Treasure and Magic Valleys, to bring upwards of 10 concerts to the Portneuf Wellness Complex this summer. 

“The events will bring some revenue to the county to help pay for the event center,” Hough said.

Events will be announced on the Bannock County website and Portneuf Wellness Complex Facebook page as they are finalized. This will be the first year the County will handle concessions and beer sales at the Wellness Complex, as well.

“This will be the first year we really get to paint the full picture of what the Wellness Complex can do, so we’re excited to see that,” Hough said.

But concerts aren’t the only events returning to the Event Center.

“We’ve got monster trucks coming back, high school rodeo coming back, it should be a very full year. In fact, we even signed a little league football contract a couple weeks ago, so that’s coming back,” Hough said.

After having to cancel the annual Independence Day firework celebration due to budgetary and Covid-19 safety measures, Bannock County is planning for a big show on Saturday, July 3, 2021.

Hough does not expect the coronavirus to impede on this year's festivities.

“At this point in time, I’m gonna say we’re going to play it by ear and see, and if things continue the way they are, it’ll just be “come as you are and enjoy.” If there’s still mask precautions and stuff, we’ll obviously encourage people to do that, but we’ll just see where we’re at,” Hough said.

Currently 33% of people 16 and older in the 8 county district are vaccinated, according to Maggie Mann, the district director for Southeast Idaho Public Health.

“We’re increasing about a percent a day, and if we can continue that steady progress, that’s great. But we really want to get into the 80, 85, 90 percentile of people vaccinated,” Mann said.

In order to reach herd immunity and protect at-risk people from the coronavirus, a lot more people need to be vaccinated. Now that everyone 16 and older is eligible for the vaccine, concerns over vaccine hesitancy are becoming more inevitable.

“We had very high demand initially, and not enough vaccine. And now we are starting to see vaccine supply pick up, and I believe most providers do have open appointments,” Mann said.

Mann said the Covid-19 vaccines are the best tool we have to return to normalcy and protect people from getting sick. If we continue on our current vaccine trends, she sees a brighter future ahead.

“We are very cautiously optimistic, we want to be able to have those events occur, and certainly right now, it looks like they will be able to,” Mann said.

To schedule a Covid-19 vaccine, you can call your preferred provider or your health district.

Emma Iannacone

Emma is a reporter for Local News 8 and KIDK Eyewitness News 3.


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