SAULT STE. MARIE -- A huge convention is in the works in Sault Ste. Marie next year.

The Mocha Shriners - a fraternal organization - are planning a week-long ceremonial starting Sept. 20, which will see more than 1,000 delegates from Canada, the United States and Mexico congregate in the Sault.

"Not all the cities want to play ball," said Dylan McLay, Potentate Chair of Mocha Shriners. "Of course we do have some larger centres in our jurisdiction, with the Kitchener-Waterloo area, London and Windsor, but we find these ceremonials are better represented and we get better traction in communities like Sault Ste. Marie."

McLay said the event will feature world-class concerts and a parade. Those acts won't be revealed until January, however. The ceremony itself is to welcome new members into the group.

But as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, McLay said it may have to be delayed.

"We will not cancel," McLay said. "We will just postpone if needs be … We will be hosting it in Sault Ste. Marie, regardless of that postponement."

McLay said the organization is more than willing to work with public health, provincial and federal government, in order to meet their guidelines.

Asked whether Mocha Shriners would mandate delegates to have a COVID-19 vaccine, should it become available in time, McLay said that was a decision for the group's legal team.

By May 2021, organizers will decide whether to go ahead as planned or push back the date. The event is slated to run Sept. 20-25.