GALLIPOLIS — Despite hoping to reschedule next month, the annual Gallipolis River Recreation Festival, normally held in July, has been canceled for this year.
“It is with much consideration and great sadness to announce members of the Gallipolis River Recreation Festival committee and the Gallia County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors have determined it to be in the best interest of the volunteers and the community to cancel the Gallipolis River Recreation Festival and all of its associated festivities for 2020,” a press released stated. “The Chamber board and festival committee had initially intended to reschedule the events, provided annually to the community by businesses and volunteers.”
Earlier this year, the festival had secured funding for the fireworks display from Thomas Do-It Center.
“While we at Thomas Do-It Center are saddened by the inability to have a River Rec celebration this year, we realize the situation is presently beyond anyone’s control. Throughout the current state of affairs our community is facing, it has been our goal to promote community health and wellness in the best ways possible while still encouraging all our cherished local businesses to thrive. We support the difficult decision the Chamber of Commerce had to make regarding River Rec 2020. As a river family, the Thomas’ place great value on the Ohio River’s impact on our local economy as well as tourism to our area. We will miss the opportunity to see the Gallipolis fireworks over the mighty Ohio this year, but are looking forward to helping make the 2021 River Rec celebration the absolute best ever as we intend to carry our fireworks sponsorship to next year,” Autumn Thomas of Thomas Do It Center, said.
Chamber board president Jenni Swain stated “It was a unanimous decision by the board after much discussion. We had to make a responsible decision for our community. With the recent increase in COVID-19 cases in Gallia and surrounding counties, we felt like this was the best possible decision.”
The Gallia County Chamber of Commerce and the festival committee suspect 2021 to be a better year, but may result in some changes amid the pandemic and effects thereof, the press release stated.
“We look forward to planning and successfully executing our annual festival next year,” Chamber Executive Director Elisha Orsbon, said.
(Editor’s note: The River Rec tradition of the rubber ducky race will continue this year and is slated for noon, Sept. 13, location to be determined. The grand prize is a split-the-pot, with last year’s winner taking home $1,280. Visit www.gallipolisriverrec.com to sign up to adopt a duck for $10.)
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