The Summerland Action Festival has included a large ball tournament as well as other events. (Summerland Review file photo)

The Summerland Action Festival has included a large ball tournament as well as other events. (Summerland Review file photo)

Summerland Action Festival cancelled

COVID-19 pandemic leads to decision to stop large outdoor event

Organizers of the Summerland Action Festival have cancelled their event for 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

Pat Bell, chair of the festival committee, said the event will not go ahead this year, but organizers are now looking at continuing again next year.

“We’re going to come back as strong as we possibly can in 2021,” he said.

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Since 1982, the annual festival has been held on the first weekend of June. In recent years, it has drawn an estimated 15,000 people over the three days it runs.

The festival has featured a parade, live entertainment, activities for all ages and sporting events including a ball tournament and the Giant’s Head Run.

Bell said the restrictions in place this year, including bans on gatherings of more than 50 people and a physical distancing requirement of two metres between people, would make the festival impossible to organize.

While the decision to cancel was difficult, Bell said it was also a socially responsible choice for the festival organizers.

It is not known how long the restrictions will be in place, nor how they will be adjusted in the future.

“I’m hoping the lockdown on everything is going to be relaxed a little,” Bell said, “but I don’t think it’s likely to occur.”

While some event organizers are hoping to reschedule their events to the fall, Bell said the Summerland Action Festival is not able to shift its date.

“There really isn’t another window,” he said. “It just doesn’t work at any other time of the year.”

Many bands and entertainers will not be available for fall dates.

In addition, festival organizers did not want to bring out a smaller version of the festival.

“We don’t want to do a half-party,” Bell said. “We want to do a good job.”

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Hundreds have participated in the Giant’s Head Run during the Summerland Action Festival. This year, the festival has been cancelled. (Summerland Review file photo)

Hundreds have participated in the Giant’s Head Run during the Summerland Action Festival. This year, the festival has been cancelled. (Summerland Review file photo)