Barrie, Ontario’s annual Kempenfest celebration has been cancelled for the first time in history due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Festival organizers say they’ve been meeting with municipal, provincial and federal governments to monitor the COVID-19 crisis and have decided to postpone the event until 2021.
“It is the right decision to protect the health of the Kempenfest community,” Kempenfest general manager Louise Jackson said in a statement.
“We want our visitors and participants to know that the show can not go on as planned this year and that safety is our number one priority.”
The festival, which was scheduled to take place between July 31 and August 3, was to be the event’s 50th anniversary celebration. The anniversary will now take place next year.
Festival organizers say Kempenfest has a local economic impact of $12 million to the community and supports multiple charities in the area.
“Kempenfest is comprised of not-for-profit organizations that collectively own the name Kempenfest,” Todd Tuckey, Kempenfest’s chair, said in a statement.
“This was a very tough decision as these charities rely on this money each and every year for their commitments back into our community and that money simply won’t be there this year.”