Members of the Macomb Area Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) and the Macomb Heritage Days Committee said that due to the coronavirus crisis, they have halted planning for the city’s 38th annual Heritage Days festival.
“That is the decision that was made for the safety and the health of everybody in our community and those that may be visiting us,” Jock Hedblade, Executive Director of the CVB, told the city council Monday night.
He said organizers are concerned whether mass gatherings will be allowed by late June, even if stay-at-home and social distancing restrictions are lifted.
Hedblade also said many reunions held in conjunction with Heritage Days are already being called off. He said a low turnout this year would hurt the event in coming years because the money generated from the festival is put toward future Heritage Days celebrations.
“We decided the prudent thing to do this year – and it was not an easy thing to do – was to cancel Heritage Days,” he said.
Macomb Mayor Mike Inman concurred with the decision.
“This is going to be one more on a list of disappointments for folks in the community this year. And to that extent, I want to assure everyone that this was not entered into lightly and that every consideration was given to safety as it relates to the event. It’s just where we have to be, unfortunately.”
Heritage Days is just the latest event called off due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Western Illinois University announced late last week it has canceled all on-campus events through the end of June.