SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – One of the largest yearly festivals in the City of Spartanburg has been canceled.
The Spartanburg International Festival draws in crowds of over 11,000 people into the city every year — including more than 35 different volunteer groups and 60 food vendors. But due to COVID-19 surge in the community, the city decided to cancel the long awaited festival for the second year in a row.
City leaders said the decision was made largely to protect the health and safety of their volunteers and the community food and trade vendors that attend the festival.
In addition, there were growing concerns over the increasing COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the community.
Leaders said the decision wasn’t an easy one to make— they were looking forward to hosting one of their biggest events since the pandemic began.
Although there’s growing COVID spread in communities, neighboring cities such as Greenville still plan to host some of their bigger festivals such as Fall for Greenville. As of Wednesday, DHEC reports that Greenville County has the second highest rate of COVID-19 cases out of all counties in the state.
But the city of Spartanburg said the International Festival is about personal interaction and the food, which would make it nearly impossible to put COVID-19 precautions in place.
“All of the close proximity that people were going to be in really made it especially not wise in our estimation to continue with the festival,” Christopher George, spokesperson for the City of Spartanburg, said.
The city plans to go forward with smaller scale events in the city that require less personal interaction and close contact.
The festival was set to happen in Barnet park on October 2.