By Sarah Richardson
As the battle against coronavirus continues across the nation, a multitude of festivals and other events have been cancelled locally. As Gov. Justice continues with reopenings in “The Comeback” plan, large gatherings are still not permitted due to transmission risks. Last Thursday saw the opening of indoor dining at 50 percent capacity, retail stores, campgrounds, and more, but gatherings of more than 25 people are still not recommended.
“Decisions regarding our local fairs and festivals are not made by Greenbrier County Health Department,” said the Health Department in a social media post. “This is forced by the Executive Order of Governor Justice restricting gatherings to 25 people or less. Each event must take into consideration all the reasons they cannot proceed at this time, including safety and financial reasons. Please understand the Health Department does not make the rules but is tasked with following the Governor’s orders to ensure the health and safety of all our citizens.”
Events that have been postponed or cancelled are as follows:
- Lewisburg Chocolate Festival: Canceled. “Ticket holders: If you purchased tasting tickets online in advance, your purchase is valid for the 2021 festival on April 10. If you would like a refund, we will gladly take care of that for you. If you purchased tickets in person at the visitors’ center in Lewisburg, a cash refund will be made upon return of your tickets. Please send an email to email@example.com with your preference: hold tickets for 2021, online refund (for online ticket purchases), or cash refund (for visitors center purchasers).”
- Alderson Strawberry Festival: Canceled
- Rainelle Run for the Wall: Canceled
- White Sulphur Springs Dandelion Festival: To be determined, currently postponed to Sept. 4 and 5
- West Virginia Renaissance Festival: Canceled. “We are terribly disappointed to announce that we will not be able to open the festival this year. We pray for everyone’s safety and can’t wait to show you all the new developments in 2021.”
- Union Farmer’s Day: Canceled
- Ronceverte River Festival: Canceled. “We want to announce, with sadness, that we as the Ronceverte River Festival Committee voted to cancel the 2020 River Festival in June, as well as the Great Rubber Ducky Race. We did this to adhere to state and local guidelines due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Please know that we did not make this decision lightly. The Festival, thankfully, due to the hard work of all of its members, is financially in a very good place. Our hearts are with the local businesses and residents who are not financially in a good place during the pandemic. Information for refunds for Rubber Ducky Race tickets will be released in full soon, as well as other information. We will be back next year stronger than ever. If you have any questions, please message us.”
- Renick Freedom Festival: Canceled. “The decision has been made to cancel the Renick Festival at this time for the protection of the public’s health and the inability to guarantee sanitation efforts and social distancing could be followed and maintained throughout the festivals activities. We are optimistic that everything will be back on track for 2021 and look forward to seeing everyone then. Stay safe.”
- Alderson 4th of July: Canceled. “The 4th of July Committee has been consulting with state and local officials in regard to this year’s celebration and we unfortunately have to cancel the 2020 Alderson 4th of July Celebration. The health and safety of our community is our first priority and we can’t risk it. We ask that you support the businesses that have sponsored our celebration in years past. We will begin planning the 60th annual celebration soon and we hope that you will join us for our biggest celebration yet.”
- Talcott John Henry Days: Canceled. “It is with great sadness that we announce our decision to cancel the 2020 John Henry Festival. The decision does not come easy as this would have been our 25th Anniversary. The unknowns surrounding the COVID-19 health crisis has made it nearly impossible to complete the planning that needs to be done in the months leading up to the festival. In addition, John Henry Days depends on donations from our local community businesses and individuals to be successful, many of those business who are currently shutdown and are already financially burdened enough. (When the quarantine is over, please remember to support our local small businesses!)”
- Hinton Water Festival: To be determined, currently scheduled for July 31 through Aug. 2.
- Lewisburg Literary Festival: To be determined, currently scheduled for Aug. 7 and 8.
- West Virginia State Fair: To be announced mid-June, currently scheduled for Aug. 13-22. “The State Fair of West Virginia is continuing to monitor the global pandemic of COVID-19 as we optimistically prepare for the 2020 State Fair of West Virginia scheduled for Aug. 13-22.
With that said, entries will open to exhibitors on June 15! Check out our website for a list of projects you could be working on now!”
- White Sulphur Springs Freshwater Folk Festival: To be determined, currently scheduled for Sept. 12.
- Pence Springs Wings & Wheels Festival: To be determined, currently scheduled for Sept. 19.
- Frankford Autumn Festival: To be determined, currently scheduled for Sept. 26.
- WSS Wild Game Cook-Off: To be determined, currently scheduled for Oct. 3.
• Lewisburg’s Taste of our Towns (T.O.O.T): To be determined, currently scheduled for Oct. 10.