FAIRBORN — The Fairborn Chamber of Commerce announced Thursday the cancellation of the 2020 Halloween Festival due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are truly saddened that we have to cancel. We look forward to planning the 2021 Fairborn Halloween Festival,” the organization said in a Facebook announcement.
The festival, which attracts up to 10,000 people in a given year, features food trucks, trick-or-treating, a costume contest, and carnival rides. Patrons brave the Foy’s Haunted Museum on Main Street. The parade and “zombie walk” sees hundreds of costumed undead travel from the Fairborn YMCA to the downtown festival grounds.
Chamber president Brian Lampton said the two main reasons for cancellation were the timeline of events and the lack of volunteers. The chamber had been in discussion with both the city and Greene County Public Health, trying to come up with a plan for a safe and socially distant event.
“It was a tough decision for the board,” Lampton said. “It’s not something we wanted to do, but we didn’t feel like we would have been able to get enough volunteers, and get the plan together and fully executed.”
Lampton emphasized that they had the cooperation of both the city and the health department in trying to make the festival happen.
“The city was going to issue us a permit,” he said. “They were in discussion with us; they didn’t just say we couldn’t do it.”
The final nail in the proverbial coffin came when the Chamber realized they would be short-staffed for the entire event, so that running an event with the proper precautions would be impossible.
“We get several blocks of volunteers from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base or Wright-Patt Credit Union, and those employees are not permitted in large group settings,” Lampton said. “We knew we would be very short of volunteers, and the plan would have called for more volunteers [than in a normal year].”
When asked if the cancellation would have an impact on local businesses, Lampton said he didn’t think so, other than the toll the coronavirus has already taken on the local economy.
“It’ll have a small impact this year, but all businesses have been impacted by COVID,” he said.
As for the usual trick-or-treating, the city said that citizens are welcome to participate in local trick-or-treating to the level they are comfortable with. If that position changes, it will be announced before Oct. 31.
Other Halloween events are still on but going virtual. The costume contest will take place online, and runs Oct. 1-23. Families can submit photos online to Fairborn Parks and Recreation for the chance to win prizes. Categories are by age, and include family, best couple, and scariest costume.
Reach London Bishop at (937) 502-4532
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