ROCKINGHAM — Concerns over the near future of the COVID-19 pandemic led the Richmond County Chamber of Commerce to make a tough decision: to cancel Hoptoberfest.
“This event has become the Chamber’s signature event but the fact remains that there are far too many unknowns to be able to properly and safely plan this event or predict when restrictions in NC will be lifted,” Chamber President Emily Tucker said in a press release late Thursday morning.
Tucker said the the decision was made with public health officials and event sponsors.
This would have been the sixth year for the craft beer and wing festival for the county and the second time it would be held at Rockingham Dragway. It’s generally held the first weekend in October.
Last year’s wing competition featured 13 teams vying for the top prize and there were more than 60 varieties of beer on tap.
“We held out hope as long as we could in hopes that we would not have to cancel the event,” said 2020 Chamber Chair Caroline Goodwin. “Several factors came into play such as public health, resources, and economic impact. It was determined that restrictions would not be lifted in time for us to accommodate such a large event. We are hopeful the event will return in 2021.”
Tucker said the pandemic has forced “many tough decisions” for the Chamber and “everyone around us.”
The city of Rockingham has canceled the May-August installments of its Plaza Jam summer concert series, the most recent being announced on Wednesday.
The annual motorcycle ride for Richmond County Special Olympics has also been postponed, as was the Ellerbe Lions Club’s Fourth of July Jamboree.
“The Chamber’s Hoptoberfest committee will be meeting within a few weeks to discuss doing something for our Hoptoberfest sponsors and the possibility of a smaller spring event to be followed up with the 2021 Hoptoberfest. Our commitment is to make 2021 the best year yet,” Tucker said.