Story by: Kayla Kreutzberg
Photo by: Chris Holden
Last year the Mount Forest Fireworks Festival was gearing up to celebrate their 20th anniversary, but COVID-19 got in the way of letting that event happen.
Chair of the Mount Forest Fireworks Festival committee Sharon Wenger said, they made the decision to cancel this year’s event due to the current climate of the world.
“This event, we draw in crowds of thousands, up into the I would say into the tens of thousands for some of our events, so just the logistics of having that many people in one area we knew that was not going to be allowable by July,” Wenger said.
Wenger said it came down to the health and safety of those that would attend the festival, committee members, volunteers, entertainers and the community as a whole.
The four-day (July 15-19) event takes 11 months to plan and over 250 volunteers are needed to run it.
Wenger said she was pleasantly surprised by the responses they got when they made the announcement on March 22 to cancel the event.
“People are disappointed which is totally understandable, we as a committee are also disappointed, we as a committee are all volunteers, we do this because we love this town, we love this event, we pour hearts and souls into this event, but everybody seems to be understanding of where we’re at socially, and I think people understand that crowds of thousands are just not possible right now,” Wenger said.
Wenger said when it comes to all the businesses that support the event she believes that they are most likely dealing with their own complications from the pandemic right now, and aren’t in a financial situation to give the festival that support they would have needed this year.
She said it was another consideration they made when making the decision to cancel.
Another reason they decided to cancel this year was to ensure the longevity of the event with their financial viability in mind.
“By moving our deposits forward and not trying to hold the event when we can’t maybe sell as many tickets as we need to, to make sure financially we were still viable that we would continue next year if we were given the go-ahead from public health and those other entities that would make sure that we can put on a festival,” Wenger said.
Wenger said they still have contracts in place and entertainment lined up for next year.
She added even though the four-day festival is cancelled the Get Your Hillbilly On group that generally holds their rib fest on the Thursday evening, are looking at the possibility of doing a drive-through rib dinner event.
Details will be posted on the Mount Forest Fireworks Festival’s social media accounts closer to the time.