LIMA — Community summer kickoff events are right around the corner, but the fate of many of them is still up in the air.
While the St. Rose Festival and Harrod Pork Rind Heritage Festival have been canceled or postponed, plans of other events like the county fairs and Rally in the Square are moving forward until told otherwise.
The St. Rose Festival is typically the unofficial kickoff to summer for the area. This year’s was set for May 16 and 17, but festival chair Mary Paton said the committee decided last week to postpone it until the fall. A rescheduled date has not yet been set.
“We were going to wait until May 1 (to make a decision), but we asked, even if we can, should we?” Paton explained. “We decided we didn’t have to wait for the governor, we’re going to cancel and give everyone that sigh of relief, especially small businesses sponsoring the event. We can wait until September — they can’t.”
Paton and Tony Blake, president of the Pork Rind Heritage Festival, each said one of the key factors to deciding not to hold this year’s events as scheduled is the struggle of local businesses and sponsors who help make these events happen.
“I think we really started hearing about (the novel coronavirus) in January and had to start thinking down the road about what we would do,” Blake said of the decision to cancel this year’s festival. “We’ve got a lot of people in line and out in the open and with the uncertainty of how the virus is going to be in June, we had to make a call with all of that in mind. Our line is sometimes 100-deep in people. To try to think about keeping those people six feet away, they would be six blocks deep.”
Meanwhile, the organizers of ArtSpace/Lima’s Rally in the Square and the Allen County Fair are forging ahead.
“Everybody is dealing with the same issues trying to plan these events,” said Allen County Fair general manager Bob Fricke. “To be honest, it’s been a stressful time for myself, for the staff and the fair board. We’ve got to continue to get ready for our events coming up (at the fairgrounds) in June and July. We’ve got to keep moving forward until we’re told differently and do everything we can in the event things are on.”
As of Tuesday afternoon, no area or state county fairs have been canceled. Putnam County’s is set for June 22 through 27 while Auglaize and Allen’s are slated for August.
Any updates on events will be available on www.limaohio.com. To submit information on your event, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reach Tara Jones at 567-242-0511.