Since last year’s Crothersville Red, White and Blue Festival, the organizing committee had worked hard to make the 45th celebration a great event for the community.
In her first year as festival organizer, Erica Gorbett said she learned planning is a constant process.
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All of that work, however, recently came to a halt because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The committee wound up making the tough decision to cancel the festival, which was scheduled for the second weekend in June.
Former organizer Sherry Bridges said that’s a first for the festival. Weather wreaked havoc at different times, but it never led to a cancellation.
“For me personally, it was a hard decision to make,” Gorbett said. “Communities have missed out on so much because of COVID-19. I was hoping the festival wouldn’t be one of them. I felt the festival would have helped boost community morale and provide a sense of normalcy to our own community as well as surrounding communities.”
With Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb’s five-stage plan to reopen the state, Gorbett said the festival would have had to be rescheduled after July 4.
“It was difficult to find an agreeable date with the carnival company,” she said. “Coupled with the uncertainly of the 2020-21 school year, we felt that cancelling would be best than risk getting the community’s hopes up and then having to reschedule or cancel again in the future.”
The decision was announced Thursday on the festival’s Facebook page.
The community, however, won’t be without a fun-filled event this year. That’s because the festival committee has set its second Save the Red, White and Blue BBQ fundraiser for Sept. 18 and 19 at Bard Street Park.
A lot of the events that were going to be conducted during the festival are being carried over to the barbecue, including fireworks, a wild west shootout show, a greased pig competition, vendors, a flea market, an antique car and tractor show, a barbecue competition, a chili cookoff and more.
“It has been very disheartening to have to cancel what we all have worked so hard to put in place, but knowing that we are able to host some of the events we had planned for the festival at our barbecue in the park in September has helped reignite the excitement of being able to bring a fun-filled time to our community,” Gorbett said.
She doesn’t feel the cancellation will impact the festival financially that much due to the vendors and sponsors.
“Our vendors are being very understanding and patient with us while we are working everything out,” Gorbett said.
Vendors who had paid for a booth at this year’s festival can either have the funds carried over to the September event or the 2021 Red, White and Blue Festival.
“If neither of these options work, then we are urging our vendors to reach out and we can and will work something out with them,” Gorbett said.
The vendors and groups that rely on the festival and others in the area as a moneymaker will be greatly impacted, she said.
“Just like any business, it takes income to keep it going, and they are losing income, especially those who have already purchased items to restock their inventory, paid for licenses and permits, etc.,” Gorbett said.
When it comes to the community, she said while they may be disappointed about not having the festival, they have been understanding and support the decision to cancel for the greater good.
Gorbett and the committee hope to resume the tradition next year.
“Our festival is an opportunity to honor veterans, our flag, our nation and our community while creating an environment that encourages family togetherness, friendship and fun,” she said. “We are always discussing and searching for new events and ideas to help grow the festival or ways to bring back old events the festival hosted in the past.”
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The 45th annual Crothersville Red, White and Blue Festival, scheduled for the second weekend in June, has been canceled.
The festival committee, however, is planning its second Save the Red, White and Blue BBQ fundraiser Sept. 18 and 19 at Bard Street Park.
It will feature fireworks, a wild west shootout show, a greased pig competition, vendors, a flea market, an antique car and tractor show, a barbecue competition, a chili cookoff and more.
Anyone interested in participating may contact the festival committee via Facebook at facebook.com/crothersvillerwb or calling 812-793-5230.