The 2021 South Boston Harvest Festival originally planned for Saturday, Sept. 25 has been canceled due to the high level of community spread of COVID-19 in the area and the current exponential growth of new COVID-19 cases.
“After much deliberation regarding COVID variants, the upswing in cases, and the newer impact on younger people, we’ve decided for safety’s sake to cancel this year’s festival,” said Lin Hite, Destination Downtown South Boston president, in an announcement on the festival’s cancellation emailed to The Gazette on Friday.
Tamyra Vest, executive director of DDSB, added, “Safety and health should come first and holding the event would have risked exposing more people to the virus’ delta variant.”
This is the second year in a row the South Boston Harvest Festival has been canceled due to COVID-19. The annual festival typically brings a crowd of 6,000 people to the streets of downtown South Boston and raises $7,000 for DDSB, Vest shared.
Brandee Lloyd, promotions committee chair of DDSB said, “While we were looking forward to bringing this tradition back to downtown, we felt that the safety of the community was of utmost importance.”
Because of widespread cases of COVID-19 in the community the first couple of months of this year and uncertainty about whether or not they would be able to hold the harvest festival, Vest said she and her festival planning team had been “scrambling” the past couple of months to plan the festival in a much shorter timeframe than usual, but it was shaping up to be a nice event.
“It was shaping up to be a good event based on the amount of time we had to plan it,” Vest said. “We had a food court in Constitution Square, and that was full. We had three stages of entertainment; we had our Constitution Square stage, we had a stage at Charles Street, and we had a stage at Ferry Street. We had the local dance studios mixed in with the other entertainment.”
While the harvest festival provides “great entertainment” to the community, Vest explained the festival first and foremost is a fundraiser for DDSB.
The non-profit organization hosts a number of events throughout the year to raise money to continue its efforts to support Main Street businesses. Not being able to have those fundraisers the past two years has taken a “big chunk” out of DDSB’s operating budget, Vest said.
Those with DDSB look forward to next fall, when they plan to present the Harvest Festival on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022.
In the meantime, they urge everyone to follow the guidelines and protocols to reduce the spread of COVID-19 so that everyone can soon experience the joy of events such as the Harvest Festival.