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Updated: Oct 23, 2021

Due to public concerns related to attending large gatherings, the Yosemite Highway 120 Chamber of Commerce board of directors has voted to cancel the 2021 49er Festival. In lieu of the traditional Main Street parade and Festival activities in Lower Mary Laveroni Park, the town of Groveland is turning its full attention to honoring US Army Specialist and Olympic Marksman Sagen Maddalena, a Groveland native who was granted home leave to be the Festival’s Grand Marshall.

“We’re organizing Sagen Maddalena’s Homecoming Tour to focus entirely on her remarkable achievements and service to our country,” said Bob Turney, president of the chamber. “By lining up our Festival sponsors to host Sagen at their establishments, our community will enjoy unique opportunities in smaller, more personal settings to meet Sagen, hear her remarkable story, and honor her service.

“Some of the popular Festival attractions, like the open-air market vendors, will still be happening on Saturday, September 18 while Sagen is making appearances at local businesses,” said Turney. “They’ll be dispersed into mini open-air markets in convenient and easily-accessed locations up and down Main Street. Other elements of the traditional 49er Festival, like the Raffle prize draws, will be incorporated into Sagen’s Homecoming Tour.”

Turney added that the Chamber of Commerce is hoping to engage local residents, clubs, organizations, and other member businesses to participate in “decking the town with red, white, & blue” to honor Sagen and all Americans who serve our country. “We hope to recreate the 4th of July, Veterans Day, and Memorial Day all wrapped up into an amazing four days. We may be a small town but there’s more passion and community spirit here than you’ll see anywhere in the country.”