(ORLEANS) – In the best interest of the health and well-being of the overall community, the Orleans Chamber of Commerce and the Dogwood Festival Committee has announced that the upcoming 52nd Annual Dogwood Festival has been cancelled and will not be rescheduled.
“We have a deep sense of responsibility to the community, and its overall well-being and safety is our main concern,” said Chamber Executive Director Robert F. Henderson. “This is not a decision made lightly or easily at this point with the official kick-off so close. The town’s trademark festival with over 40 events and nine-day run is a rather large and expensive undertaking.”
“Planning for the annual event takes an entire year and literally begins the day after the last carnival ride leaves town,” he added. “It would just really be impossible to work everything out that needs to be done in order to reschedule.
Chamber President Randy Clark said the Dogwood Festival for well over 50 years now has been a beloved springtime ritual in the small rural community of Orleans, however, officials must safeguard visitors, volunteers, and staff from the potential health threats.
“We are in the very early discussion to explore ways we can possibly expand the annual fall fun fest in the park held in early October and incorporate some of the Dogwood activities into that event,” said Henderson. “But those details will come at a later time.”
Both Henderson and Clark agreed that the local chamber knows all too well that this is devastating on many levels and for the many community partners whom the Dogwood festival serves as the one major “fun-raiser” of the entire calendar year. These funds are then used for a variety of community enhancements, scholarships, and youth endeavors.
“In the end, it was simply was the right and the responsible thing to do after consulting at length with local, state authorities over the past weekend,” said Henderson.
Henderson noted that the Dogwood committee has begun the process of issuing refunds to any of the event’s vendors, sponsors and asked everyone to be patient as this may take a few weeks to complete.