Saturday, September 26, 2020

Local News

Clinton Summerfest Canceled by COVID

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Clinton Chamber of Commerce announced on July 28 that it has decided to cancel the annual Summerfest that had been scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 5.

For the last several years, Clinton has held an end of summer celebration for the entire town. The day was planned to feature vendors, food trucks, and a beer and wine garden behind Town Hall, as well as events at a second location at the Town Beach during the afternoon. The fireworks would then launch from the beach shortly after 9 p.m.

Initially the chamber was hopeful the event would still be able to be held in some capacity in 2020 even as the COVID-19 outbreak reached the area. However, due to safety concerns raised by the ongoing pandemic, the chamber made the decision to cancel the event.

“We waited as long as we did because we were waiting on some positive news on social distancing but it never came,” said Chamber Executive Director Paul Orsini.

Orsini said that the decision was made to cancel the event at a meeting on July 24. The chamber spent the weekend letting vendors know that the Summerfest was canceled before making a public announcement on the 28th. The last time the Summerfest was canceled was in 2017, which was due to a lack of funding and manpower.

In particular, Orsini mentioned the ongoing issues with crowding that town beaches in Clinton and surrounding towns are facing each week. The beaches are reaching capacity early these days due to the state beaches also being full, which in turn raises concerns about overcrowding on the beaches.

Orsini estimated the fireworks can annually draw 1,000 to 2,000 people out, and speculated that with so many other events and vacations canceled, even more people from out of town would turn out this year.

“We started to rethink if we could handle it,” Orsini said.

Orsini said that the chamber and town officials held a meeting to talk about what parameters would need to be put in place in order to hold the event, but it became apparent at that meeting that holding the Summerfest in 2020 wasn’t feasible.

“It all boils down to safety,” said Orsini. “We’ll take a little time and get a committee together for next year.

“I feel awful, I really felt awful all weekend, but safety comes first,” said Orsini.

The chamber had been in the process of collecting funds for the Summerfest, and Orsini said he’s been contacting those who donated to see what they want him to do with the money.

Orsini said that the chamber is still scheduled to hold weekly concerts on the Town Green in September and October; they are more manageable because they draw smaller crowds. The chamber will also soon begin planning for the annual Christmas in Clinton celebration.


Eric O’Connell covers news for Clinton for Zip06. Email Eric at e.oconnell@shorepublishing.com.

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