It’s almost becoming the summer that never was.
Two more popular seasonal events in the area have been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And they both happen to be in Fredonia.
Over the last few days, the Fredonia Lions Club opted to cancel this year’s Summer Festival and Fredonia Activities Committee subsequently postponed its parade tied to the community’s signature event.
“It was a hard decision to make,” said Roger Mitchell, Lions Club President. “But out of concern for the public health and seeing other festivals canceled, we felt it was wise.”
The festival was to be held Aug. 8, with the parade the evening before.
Some other area events skipping 2020 include Black Patch Heritage Festival in Princeton, Eddyville Founder’s Day, Paducah Barbecue on the River, Trigg County Ham Festival, Tater Day Festival in Benton and Live on the Lawn and Warrior Challenge in Kuttawa.
Mitchell, a member of the civic club for a quarter century, said the decision was made more difficult knowing that a sister club in Crittenden County is moving ahead with its county fair. He also cited the Independence Day fireworks in Fredonia that seemed to play out fairly well.
“We could have it, but people may not show up,” he said of the local club’s largest fundraiser of the year. “That was one of our concerns.”
A lot of work and money goes into producing the festival, and the club did not want to risk going into the red, as its funds are used to help local residents after a disaster, buy eyeglasses for those who cannot afford them and support the annual Lions Club/WPSD Local 6 Telethon of Stars.
“We buy a lot of glasses for people around here, in Lyon County and into Princeton,” he said.
The Summer Festival serves as a sort of homecoming for Fredonia natives who have moved away over the years. The all-day event at Buddy Rogers Park typically features vendors, games, rides, a pet show, live entertainment and, of course, food.
“As far as I know, this is he first time in 56 years we’ve had to cancel,” Mitchell said.
But this will not be the end of the Summer Festival, and Fredonia Lions Club is not giving up on its mission to help others. Mitchell said they will be planning other fundraisers for later this year.
Without Fredonia Summer Festival, Fredonia Valley Parade organizers felt it wise to at least postpone the popular old-fashioned procession through town.
“This stuff has us all messed up,” Michelle Vinson Travis, parade organizer, said of the pandemic. “We’ll try our best to have it sometime, we just don’t know when.”
Disappointed with cancellation of the festival that draws several hundred people to the tiny city each summer, Travis is adamant that a parade will take place sometime this year.
“As soon as a decision is made, we will post on here,” a post on the What’s Happening in Fredonia, Kentucky Facebook page reads.