JAY - The Annual Huckleberry Festival will look very different in 2020.

Now in it's 53rd year, the annual event will be stripped down for community safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. The normally bustling festival will be made up of just four events: the pie contest, the virtual pie auction, the virtual 5K and fireworks.

July 2 - Pie Contest: contestants are asked to drop off their entries before 12 p.m. at the Mariee Wallace Museum. There are two divisions, youth (for contestants 18 years old and under) and adult (for contestants 19 years old or older). The categories will be Huckleberry, Cream, and Fruit pies. The Virtual Pie Auction will begin at 12 p.m. and will be hosted on the City of Jay/Jay Utilities Authority Facebook page.

July 3 - Virtual Pie Auction will continue until 12 p.m.

July 4 - Fireworks will begin at 9:30 p.m. and will be visible from nearly any location in town.

July 4 to 11 - The Huckleberry Run 5K Gone Virtual will take place between July 4 and July 11. Registered runners will complete the run at anytime, anywhere, before logging in to post their results. Registration for the run is $20 and is open until 11:59 p.m. on Friday, July 3. T-shirt pick up has yet to be announced, but there will be a shipping option available during the registration process. Runners will be able to print off a certificate and are able to submit pictures to the Huckleberry Virtual 5K photo book. Additional information can be found at www.cherokeepublichealth.org.

The Huckleberry pageant has been canceled so that the current titleholders will have the opportunity to continue to serve their communities and compete at the next level.

"Please understand this was a very difficult decision for our board who are lifelong Jay residents and love the festival. It was very important to them to keep those at risk in our community safe," said the festival's spokesperson in a statement released on Facebook. "We look forward to getting back to normal next year. Planning for 2021 will begin in March."

For more information, or to register for the 5K, visit the City of Jay/Jay Utilities Authority Facebook page.