FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – Fayetteville and Cumberland County’s biggest festival has been canceled due to COVID-19.
The Fayetteville Dogwood Festival organizers say 275,000 people attended last year, bringing an economic impact of $4,500,000.
The Dogwood Festival, Inc. Board of Directors announced Thursday that they have canceled the final two After Five concerts, set for Aug. 14 and Sept. 18, as well as the Dogwood Festival that had been rescheduled for October. The festival regularly brings in tens of thousands of visitors.
“Our hallmark event every year,” said Fayetteville Mayor Mitch Colvin. “It’s grown every year very successfully, and unfortunately this year we won’t have the benefit of that in the city.”
This spring would have been the 38th year for the festival.
It was pushed back until October, but is now canceled this year.
The city doesn’t run the event, but Colvin says he understands the need for the non-profit group to cancel it this year.
“Of course with COVID I understand the fact that with social distancing and masks, the last thing you want to do is encourage hundreds of thousands of people to fellowship together,” Colvin said.
Nathan Cuffee owns the Blue Moon Café downtown.
He says the festival normally brings in a lot of people and revenue to his business, but he expected it to be canceled this year.
“I’m understanding of why this had to happen,” Cuffee said. “I’m sad to see that it didn’t happen because it’s something that has been down here for so many years and brought so many people so much joy.”
The Cool Spring Downtown District sent this statement about the cancellation:
“The festival is the biggest event the community hosts and draws guests to our area so not having the event this year will have an impact on local businesses and lessens our community’s “fun factor”. Given the current circumstances with the COVID, we understand their decision and commend them for making the difficult, yet necessary decision to cancel the 2020 festival. It’s clear their first and main concern is the safety of guests, staff, volunteers and vendors and we completely support that.”
The cancellations were made in compliance with Gov. Roy Cooper’s executive order on large gatherings, a release from the board of directors said.
“The health of our community is first and foremost our priority,” the release said.
The release stated that The Dogwood Festival will “look for smaller opportunities to entertain you, such as virtual events and pop-up events that adhere to social distancing, as we make plans during the next months. We look forward to seeing our community partners, friends, neighbors and the thousands who joins us every year during the fourth weekend in April.”
Next year’s Dogwood Festival is currently set for April 22-25.
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