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2020 Three Rivers Festival canceled over coronavirus concerns

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) - One of the biggest summer festivals in the region has decided to cancel the 2020 event due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Three Rivers Festival was slated to start July 10 and continue through July 18.

The unofficial start begins with a parade and then ends with a bang with a big fireworks show.

It's something that many folks in northeast Indiana look forward to each year, but because of the coronavirs pandemic, leaders with the festival felt they couldn't operate safely.

"After working with the Allen County Board of Health and the City of Fort Wayne, we have determined that the challenges of social distancing and other CDC safety guidelines are too much to overcome with the large crowds that are attracted," Executive Director Jack Hammer said in a press release.

"Our festival would start just days after the move to stage 5 of Indiana’s Back on Track plan (scheduled for July 4th). Unfortunately, delaying the festival to another time is not an option. Any interruption in the Back on Track timeline would jeopardize not only the 2020 Three Rivers Festival, but the financial hardship would jeopardize future festivals as well."

Organizers said delaying the festival isn't an option, but they plan to announce more details in the coming weeks about their plans for next year.

The two-week-long festival attracts about a half-million visitors each summer.

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb announced a five-stage road map to reopen the state's economy by July 4.

Indiana is foretasted to make it to "Stage 5" of the plan by July 4, so long as the COVID-19 caseload decreases.

Once we reach "Stage 5," Gov. Holcomb will allow fairs, festivals and sporting events, retail restaurants to operate at full capacity, and restrictions to be lifted at amusement parks and water parks.

The Three River Festival Board of Directors has made the difficult decision to postpone the 52nd Three Rivers Festival....

Posted by Three Rivers Festival on Thursday, May 14, 2020

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Kayla Crandall

Kayla Crandall is an Emmy award-winning journalist. She serves as the Social Media and Digital Content Manager at WPTA. Follow her on Twitter @KaylerJayne.

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