For the first time in 57 years, the Florida Seafood Festival will not be drawing crowds to Franklin County the first weekend of November.
In a Tuesday post on Facebook following a vote by the 10-member board of directors, the festival announced the event was being postponed until Nov. 5 and 6, 2021.
“This decision was an equally hard and easy decision to make,” read the festival announcement. “After we, and the community, fought so hard to hold the 2018 Florida Seafood Festival just three short weeks after Hurricane Michael, we felt nothing could be harder, this decision was.
“We are ten volunteers. No one can say they love the Florida Seafood Festival more than we do,” it said. “Most of us have been on the board for many years, donating our time to make the (festival) the best it can be. We do it for the love we have of this community and the festival. With the state of affairs of COVID-19, the safety of our community and patrons is, and always has been, priority number one.
“Currently, the state and CDC are recommending no large gatherings of over 10 people,” it read. “There is a big gap between 10 people and 24,000 people. Also, we do not have the funds to put into place the safety measures some of the major theme parks have done to allow them to be open safely.
“Please understand if there was any way possible that we could have safely held this year’s festival, we would be pushing forward with the determination we have always had,” read the announcement.
The festival announcement said planning for the 2021 festival will begin in the coming months “to make it bigger and better. We know that this is not just a festival to most of our patrons; it is a homecoming for Franklin County as well.
“The men and women who have served on this board over the past 57 years are some of the most dedicated volunteers in our community. Please, everyone understand the situation that we were faced with and are continuing to face,” it read. “We say again this was a hard decision because of the love we have for the festival and the community, and an easy decision because of the love we have for the community.”
The announcement closed by offering thanks to the many visitors to the community every year for the past 56 years. “We invite you to still visit our community in 2020 as the businesses and restaurants are open for your enjoyment,” it read.
“We also would like to thank our sponsors for supporting us all these years. To all of our non-profit groups, volunteers and vendors, we thank you,” reads the announcement. “This truly is a community event and it truly takes a village. We are so blessed to have such an amazing village like Franklin County. This isn’t goodbye, this is “’see ya next year.’”
This article originally appeared on The Apalachicola Times: COVID-19 prompts seafood festival cancellation