The 2020 Parksville Beach Festival has been cancelled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Festival event manager, Wendy Sears, said it was a difficult and necessary decision to cancel this year’s event. A festival of such magniture would pose too large of a health risk at this point, she explained.
“We don’t know what travel is going to look like… we had many international sculptors coming or chosen to participate this year and we don’t even know if they can come,” she said. “And then the whole thing around the size of crowds – are they going to relax that?”
‘Roaring ’20s’ was set to be the theme for this year’s festival, which has been taking place since 1982. The event has had an average number of 122,000 annual visitors in the past five years.
Sears said planning of the festival has been on hold for about a month, since social distancing protocol started to be enforced.
The cancellation includes the Quality Foods Sand Sculpting Competition and Exhibition, Art in the Park, Tim Hortons Summer Concert Series, Lunch with the Castles, Canadian Tire Sculpt like the Pros and the Coast Captial Savings Light-up! Show.
Cancelling the event will also have a significant economic impact on the region, said a release from the Parksville Beach Festival Society.
“Not only will many businesses, contractors, local not-for-profit groups serving as gate ambassadors and our society feel the financial impact of this cancellation, our community will feel the loss of a well-respected event that garners significant social cohesion and boosts community pride,” said society president Cheryl Dill. “While our heads are hanging low with this decision, we know we need to do our part for the health and safety of our community. We will continue to plan for a
fantastic festival in 2021.”