CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – The West Virginia Italian Heritage Festival Board of Directors has provided an update on the status of the 2020 event as it relates to the coronavirus pandemic.
According to a statement, the board has been monitoring coronavirus guidelines from Gov. Jim Justice and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in particular, those pertaining to large outdoor events. The festival board said it may not be safe or sensible to accommodate large crowds by September. The festival is held each year over Labor Day weekend.
Due to the nature of planning a large festival, the board said it is running short on time to be able to plan and raise money for the event. The statement explains that it is becoming more challenging to complete contracting and agreements with vendors, entertainers and production companies.
The board said it is modifying this year’s event in developing virtual activities to keep the essence of the festival alive and allow for social media interaction and participation.
“Because we know that the West Virginia Italian Heritage Festival is an event that has been anticipated by and celebrated with thousands of people for over 42 years during Labor Day weekend in Clarksburg, West Virginia, it is the Board’s intention to design a plan to keep the essence of the festival alive in 2020 while ensuring the safety of all those involved. Although it will not be possible to present the 42nd Festival on the streets of Clarksburg this September in the fashion we have come to expect, we will make certain that the modifications being made will be interactive digitally and committees remain open to many ideas for new live events to occur if guidelines regarding crowd size and safety are relaxed. Please continue to check the Festival Website and Facebook Page for timely updates on digital activities and any additional live events when and if they become available. We value each and every sponsor, vendor, volunteer, and participant of our Festival family and we know we could never accomplish this unusual change in events without your loyalty and financial support. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”Tyler Terango, chairman of the board of directors
All 2020 scholarships that were announced will be awarded by August 15, according to the statement. Festival committees will also immediately begin planning the 2021 festival.
In addition, the board explained that festival honorees who have been selected for 2020 will now become the 2021 festival honorees, complete with dinners and awards being presented at that time.