On the recommendation of Town staff and the Summerfest Committee, and following public health best practices and guidelines, Pelham Town Council voted to cancel Pelham’s marquee event, Summerfest, in 2020.
The decision, made Monday, May 4, during the regular meeting of Council, is a result of public health concerns and estimations of what will be prohibited in terms of gatherings and physical distancing come mid-summer.
“For the safety of our citizens and everyone who comes from out of Town for Summerfest, this was an easy decision, but it doesn’t make it any less painful to have to cancel one of the Region’s best summer events,” said Mayor Marvin Junkin. “We’re proud of Summerfest and the event it has turned into, but there is no conceivable way that this year’s festival would resemble the Summerfest we know and love. We are all doing our part to limit the spread of COVID-19, and though we don’t know what the summer will look like, this is ultimately the right decision for our residents and our staff.”
This year’s event was slated to be the tenth anniversary of Pelham’s four free family days of fun. Summerfest was recently named a top-100 festival and event in Ontario by Festivals and Events Ontario for the sixth consecutive year. Decisions about Summerfest in 2021 have not been made.
In recent years, the event has grown to welcome more than 30,000 people to Pelham over the festival’s four days. Last year, Summerfest hosted 30 bands, 65 street vendors, and received support in the form of 1,231 volunteer hours.
“I would like to thank all of the committee members for volunteering to sit on the committee and for the hours they have put in to date,” said Summerfest Chair Bill Gibson. “For the health of everyone, the committee unanimously supports cancelling this year’s event. Thank you to everyone for their patronage over the last 10 years, and we look forward to seeing you next Summerfest.”
For more on the Town of Pelham’s response to COVID-19, visit: www.pelham.ca/covid19