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Fall Festival canceled by COVID-19 ... again

ASHEBORO — The Randolph County Arts Guild has announced in a press release the cancellation of the 2021 Fall Festival scheduled for Oct. 2-3 in downtown Asheboro. The full text is as follows:
“As the COVID-19 cases in Randolph County continue to rise, the 48th Annual Fall Festival committee and Randolph Arts Guild Board of Directors has been receiving guidance and regular updates from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Randolph County Public Health and Randolph Health. Everyone from our vendors, attendees, sponsors and downtown merchants have been affected by this pandemic. 
“Ongoing discussions have been difficult and complex. Sadly, we have ultimately decided that it is in the best interest of the community to cancel the 2021 Fall Festival, Oct. 2-3, 2021, due to COVID-19 for the second year in a row. 
“The Randolph Arts Guild Board knows that this cancellation does not come without consequence. The Fall Festival is an essential economic driver for local non-profits, community groups, small businesses and vendors. We understand the disappointment that this may bring, as many in the city of Asheboro and throughout Randolph County look forward to this great event. 
“But the current health statistics within Randolph County and surrounding areas created challenges for safely managing and hosting this traditional family-friendly festival for the city of Asheboro and Randolph County, NC. The Randolph Arts Guild is dedicated to doing our part for the health and safety of our community and mitigating the potential spread of COVID-19. 
“On behalf of our board of directors, Fall Festival event committee, sponsors, volunteers and all those that make this happen every year, we would like to say thank you for your understanding. To our vendors, we appreciate your continued interest and support in bringing the arts alive in Randolph County. Vendor registration fees will be available for reimbursement beginning Oct. 15, 2021. 
“We look forward to seeing you Oct. 1 -2, 2022, for our Annual Fall Festival in Downtown Asheboro, NC. We will get through this together.”
Asheboro Mayor David Smith, noting that the Fall Festival committee used information from Randolph Health and the Randolph County Department of Public Health, said, “They were convinced it was the right thing to do. 
“We hate (having to cancel the event) two years in a row,” but with the potential of 30,000 people on downtown streets and less than 40 percent of Randolph County residents vaccinated, the risk of having the event was “not worth it.”
Smith said he has been told that Randolph Health was “absolutely full” with COVID-19 patients with 10 or 12 more in the emergency room waiting to be admitted. Also, Lexington recently canceled its annual barbecue festival because that city’s hospital is full, as well.
“It’s better to be safe than sorry,” Smith said. “We couldn’t afford a super-spreader event.”
The mayor also said the Randolph Arts Guild was correct in making the decision now rather than waiting until the last minute. He said food vendors and those who put on the annual youth dairy show need to plan ahead.