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Harborfest Canceled For Second Consecutive Year

It really came down to our inability to safely have Harborfest, the executive director explained

By Steve Yablonski

Oswego Harborfestivals today announced “with deepest regret” they have decided to cancel Harborfest 2021 for safety concerns.

While we had great hope of returning this year following our hiatus caused by COVID-19, things are still too uncertain for us to confidently provide a safe environment and an event living up to the quality and standards we strive to attain, they said on social media.

Restrictions and protocols are changing daily, but not knowing today what will be required of them in 10 weeks makes planning nearly impossible, they wrote.

“The decision to cancel this year’s festival was made about a week ago. It really came down to our inability to safely have Harborfest,” explained Executive Director Peter Myles. “Unlike many other festivals, we have multiple venues, none of which have a single point of entry, which makes it difficult to control attendance.”

In addition, he added, it would be very difficult for us to enforce social distancing and the wearing of masks.

“It is obviously disappointing, but there really was no practical way to put the festival on safely and to NYSDOH’s liking. Harborfest has no points of entry, has no capacity limits, and would be nearly impossible to implement social distancing,” said Mayor William J. Barlow. “Also, with such a short planning window, it is nearly impossible to line up the bands, vendors and other activities on such short notice. I know the Harborfest organization put a lot of time and thought into this decision. Now the focus must turn to an extra special event in 2022.”

Believe us when we say that nobody is more disappointed that our staff, board of directors, and our faithful volunteers, the social media post said.

“I hope this doesn’t hurt our image; but hope that people see us caring about the community,” Myles said. “I also hope people and vendors will return in 2022. I hope thing are totally back to normal and we can offer a Harborfest that people and vendors want to be a part of.”

Save the date for Harborfest 2022, July 28-31. Thank you for your continued support.