The Zionsville Lions Club canceled this year’s Zionsville Fall Festival due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the first time the event has been canceled for reasons other than weather in its more than 70-year history, the event’s chairman said.
Club officials said the health and safety of guests, exhibitors and volunteers are a priority, and the club could not formulate a plan to continue the event it felt could ensure that.
During a special board of directors session the Fall Festival Committee proposed a motion to cancel the 2020 Zionsville Fall Festival, and it was approved unanimously.
After months of discussions, the committee felt it could not accurately predict the state of the pandemic come early September. In a statement, club officials said “it became apparent that the right decision for the safety of our community, vendors and volunteers was to cancel the event.”
The committee discussed various options to continue the festival, but it determined several aspects of the event would prove problematic.
It felt there was no way to social distance at the parade line-up or along the parade’s route. It was not comfortable with the bounce house area or carnival areas with the children social distancing and the inability to sanitize.
The club also had issues securing volunteers for the Fourth of July, which only needed 20 volunteer shifts covered, compared to the more than 250 shifts that would be required for festival. The dwindled number of volunteers for the Fourth of July led the club to believe many wouldn’t feel comfortable being in large crowds in September.
“Our volunteer base, a lot of them are in the high-risk category,” Zionsville Lions Club Fall Festival Chairman Tim Reinhart said.
Though the committee discussed holding a significantly smaller event, it felt it would not be fair to ask vendors and volunteers to work under such circumstances.
The club will plan to hold the festival next year, which is currently scheduled for Sept. 10-12, 2021.
“We like to provide an option for the community to come together and show community pride, and have a safe, enjoyable experience basically in our community playground called Lions Park,” Reinhart said.
To learn more about the club or to become a member, visit zionsvillelions.com.