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Nashville Fall Festival Is Canceled

Updated 7-17-20 with comments from Chamber President Tom Speedie.

The 40th annual Nashville Fall Festival has been canceled, according to the Nashville Chamber of Commerce Board.

The board said in a letter on Thursday, July 16, that the growing health concerns surrounding the coronavirus pandemic was the main reason for the event cancellation.

“Due to COVID-19, it comes with great sadness that we have decided to cancel this year’s Fall Festival,” the letter said. “The health and well-being of our vendors and our community is something we just did not want to risk.”

The fall festival is held during the last week of September, with several activities held throughout the two-day event. Activities included a craft fair, food vendors, live entertainment, a children’s activity area, superhero and princess parades, pet parade and many others. Other events like the Angels for Autism Walk Run and the community wide yard sale are often coordinated around the Fall Festival.

The Fall Festival is one of several events this year that have either canceled or have been altered as a result of the COVID-19 concerns. Other cancellations included the Washington County Fair, the Okawville Wheat Festival, the Addieville 150th anniversary and Hoyleton Hofbraufest.

Current restrictions during the Illinois Phase Four prohibits gatherings of more than 50 people. According to archives, the Fall Festival attracts typically more than 500 people each year to the downtown area.

Earlier this week, the Washington County Board narrowly approved the use of its courthouse lawn for the Fall Festival if the chamber decided to have the event in an 8-6 decision. The board also agreed that if the Fall Festival were to be held, that the county would be listed as an additional entity on the insurance.

The annual Fall Festival was to be held September 25 and 26. The Chamber also said that the board is looking to put on another successful festival in 2021.

“So, we will see you next year at the Fall Festival!” the chamber board also stated in the letter. “Everyone please stay safe and healthy.”

President Tom Speedie released the following statement on Facebook:

“As President of the Nashville Chamber of Commerce, I would like to provide a bit more insight into the board’s decision. It was not one we took lightly. In fact, we waited as long as we could to decide so we could gather as much information as possible.
“There are a number of related reasons why we canceled the Fall Festival. Although the Washington County Health Department refused to sanction the event, they issued a list of rules that would have to be followed if we went forward with the event. Those rules would have substantially reduced the number of vendors we could accommodate. They also would have made the event much more difficult to put on, as well as requiring additional manpower to, among other things take temperatures and get contact information for all attendees and disinfect the porta-potties on a regular schedule. Further, in a normal year it is hard to get enough volunteers to have the Fall Festival, and it was clear that would be more difficult this year.
“Because of the reduction in the number of vendors we could accommodate, inability to have a beer stand (it’s my understanding that event permits are not available), and some costs that would be higher, we expected that we would lose money on the event in addition to potential public health risks.
“The next Fall Festival will be our 40th, and we want it to be memorable for the right reasons – a great time – not as the year we had half a Fall Festival. I thought our community deserved a thorough explanation for the cancellation. We look forward to seeing you all next year!”

1 Comment

  1. Anonymous on July 16, 2020 at 3:16 pm

    Something I look forward to every year, but understand that the risk is still too real.

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