Barrie ON, March 25, 2021 – Kempenfest 2021 has been canceled due to COVID‐19 and will be moving its 50th-anniversary celebration to 2022. This marks only the second time in its history that the festival has been canceled, with the first time being in 2020, when COVID‐19 was also a significant concern.
A press release from festival organizers has stated: The festival had been set to take place from July 30 to August 2 of 2021, but the Kempenfest board of directors made the difficult decision to cancel again this year. While there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and it is coming hopefully sooner than later, the decision had to be made early in the planning process. The significant cost of hosting the event must be balanced against the uncertainty surrounding gathering restrictions and the potential for fear of gathering, even when permitted. Without the normal crowds attending the event, there is a very real prospect of losing money, and that cost would be borne by the charities that run Kempenfest. The safety of the community, volunteers, vendors, partners, and all attendees is the number one priority. We will continue ongoing dialogue with all levels of government and our local health officials to work on protocols that will enable us to run a safe and fun event for all in 2022.
“Ultimately, this is the right decision to make at this point in time for all concerned. Announcing this early in the year protects the festival for future years, and also allows the numerous vendors to seek out other opportunities for 2021 to ensure their own viability moving forward,” stated Todd Tuckey, Kempenfest Chair.
Over the past year, the tourism sector has taken a huge hit, and the impact of canceling Kempenfest once again will be realized across the local region. Kempenfest typically has an annual economic impact on the local economy of over $12 million dollars. The festival also supports multiple charities across the region and will continue to work with its partners to give back to the community.
While festival-goers will not be able to enjoy Kempenfest with the crowds on the lakeshore this summer, organizers are already planning exciting and innovative ways to keep the spirit of Kempenfest alive and well. Follow @kempenfest on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to join the fun, and check kempenfest.com for up-to-date information throughout the year.
“Kempenfest is a summer tradition to so many folks, and it will be missed even more this year by both artisans and visitors alike,” states Kathleen Trainor, Executive Director of Tourism Barrie. She continues, “we will continue our efforts to assist in keeping Kempenfest top of mind as we look to next year and the 50th-anniversary celebrations.”