GALLIPOLIS — Though this year’s Gallipolis River Recreation Festival (River Rec) has been postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak, it has not been canceled and festival officials are possibly looking at rescheduling for late summer or early fall.
As of Monday, a date had yet to be determined, according to the Gallia County Chamber of Commerce which organizes the event each year, along with the help of its board of directors, the festival committee and many volunteers. According to Chamber officials, postponing this summertime tradition was not an easy decision.
According to a statement released to the Gallipolis Daily Tribune on Monday, Chamber President Jenni Swain, wrote, “Postponing the Gallia County Chamber of Commerce’s annual Gallipolis River Recreation Festival was a decision the Chamber did not take lightly. The summer event has long since been established as a fundraiser for the GC Chamber of Commerce. People are frustrated and we hear them. While it may not be an ideal decision for a few, we ultimately chose to be socially responsible to our fellow Americans living in this great community. Social responsibility should be an automatic behavior even when not facing a pandemic that closes our country and economy. This however does not mean that Independence Day is cancelled, it means that for River Rec 2020, we’ve had to take a step back and evaluate our actions and what adverse actions could come of our decisions. It means making the tough decisions in order to protect the precious freedom we all have and protecting our neighbors well-being. Having to make a choice during the depth of COVID-19 uncertainty, and with input from city officials and our Chamber business community, we decided to observe what our surrounding communities and most of our nation had decided; to postpone festivities that might spike another outbreak and further damage our chances of normalcy for the future. While Independence Day may look a little different this year, it is still our day to celebrate our freedom and honor those who have fought so hard to protect it. Please celebrate our nation’s Independence day surrounded by your loved ones as you typically would, and never take for granted our great country.”
Swain’s statement also referenced a quote by President Harry Truman, “America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination, and the unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.”
Chamber Executive Director Elisha Orsbon added, “The Gallipolis River Recreation Festival committee and the Gallia County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors are working diligently to reschedule for late summer, early fall. While we understand it is difficult to fathom such changes, it is even more difficult to reschedule an event we do not have confirmed permission to hold. This festival is a celebration of our town and we plan to continue our 55th annual salute to Gallipolis when we are able to do so. Please bear with us as we try to make decisions in the best interest of our businesses, as well as the community.”
In May, it was announced the festival had secured funding for the fireworks display from sponsor Thomas Do It Center, which is a significant event expense, though certainly, not the only expense.
To stay up to date on River Rec announcements, go to https://www.gallipolisriverrec.com/
© 2020 Ohio Valley Publishing, all rights reserved.