GOLCONDA, Ill. (KFVS) - Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a rising number of cases in Illinois, the Golconda Shrimp Festival Board of Directors voted to cancel the 2020 event.
It was originally scheduled for September 19.
“We put off this difficult decision off as long as possible and even had discussions with the Southern 7 Health Department on how we could still put on a festival with guest safety in mind,” said Nathan Ryder, board president of Mainstreet Golconda, the non-profit who puts on the yearly festival and relies on the event as their primary fundraiser for the year.
The Festival started in 2001 to celebrate the harvest of locally grown freshwater shrimp. Each year on the third Saturday in September, crowds of more than 5,000 people come to taste dozens of different shrimp dishes, enjoy the live music and explore the historic riverside town.
Organizers say the first one was scheduled and then 9/11 occurred. They said it ended up being an opportunity for the community to come together and heal while also letting life return to some normalcy.
“We were hoping the situation with COVID-19 was going to be similar, that infection numbers would be declining, and we could fill the streets and celebrate a return to normal. Unfortunately, we just don’t see that as being a safe opportunity this fall,” Ryder said. “We will now look forward to planning a bigger and better festival for 2021.”
The festival board is planning to sell a commemorative t-shirt of this year’s non-event as a fundraiser.