FRUITPORT, Mich. — The Fruitport Lions Club has made the difficult decision to cancel Fruitport Old Fashioned Days for the second consecutive year.
“People want to get out and do things, but it all comes back on you, and we don’t want to risk a big outbreak,” said festival chairperson Pat Steersman.
“Some people are going to be happy with our decision, and some people are going to be mad, but you can’t help that. You have to think big picture, and the big picture is, we’re not going to do it and risk the health of everyone.”
Stressman said there were several factors that went into the decision to cancel the 2021 festival.
“That would be very hard to do, especially getting enough volunteers and the cost of fencing,” Steersman said. “Our public safety director said that there were too many people lining the streets for a parade, and we get over 10,000 people just for the fireworks, so there’s no way we could do that.”
She noted that the trout pond would be difficult to operate while observing six feet of social distancing, and only three people had applied for spots in the community art market.
“The car show, the Corvette rally, they decided against holding it, so we just canceled everything,” Steersman said.
Two events will be held virtually — a 5K run and a bike ride.
Old Fashioned Days is the largest fundraiser of the year for the Fruitport Lions Club. Canceling the event for a second consecutive year leaves the club scrambling to find enough money to support various organizations.
“We did solicit funds, and those will be used for other projects throughout the year, but it’s difficult when you give to so many organizations and they depend on you, and now we can’t do that,” she said.
Stressman hopes the Old Fashioned Christmas celebration can resume this year after being called off due to COVID-19 in 2020.
“We’ll start meeting for that in August,” she said. “But we couldn’t do our Easter egg hunt this year. We did do a Thanksgiving dinner, which was sent to people, and we also did an Easter dinner. We did a GoFundMe page to help with that, and we did raise enough to fund those dinners.”
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