Friday, 14 August 2020 16:24

Organizers cancel Hamlet's Seaboard Festival due to COVID-19 pandemic

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Organizers cancel Hamlet's Seaboard Festival due to COVID-19 pandemic RO file photo

HAMLET — Yet another large annual event in Richmond County has fallen victim to the coronavirus.

Organizers of the Seaboard Festival announced Friday afternoon that they were canceling this year’s event due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is with the saddest of hearts that we must announce the cancellation of the 2020 Seaboard Festival due to the current ongoing pandemic,” reads a Facebook post published around 3 p.m.. “Please know that we did not make this decision lightly and consulted with medical professionals, the City of Hamlet, vendors and concerned citizens of the community and all of the feedback led to the same conclusion, that cancellation was inevitable. 

“Also with the expected ongoing state mandates concerning large gatherings, we can’t imagine being able to gather 20,000 people with no way to social distance in 11 short weeks,” the post continued. “Our decision had to be focused on the safety of each and every visitor and volunteer involved with the festival. We plan to utilize this time to begin planning and making the 2021 Seaboard Festival the best yet. 

“Thank you for your understanding and support in knowing that we are all in this together and have had to make some very difficult, unwanted decisions this year. Please stay safe and we absolutely can’t wait to see you in 2021!”

The Seaboard Festival, which celebrates the city’s railroad heritage and features streets lined with vendors and performances by local musicians, is the latest in a string of cancelations because of the pandemic.

Last week, the Hamlet Lions Club canceled the Richmond County Agricultural Fair, which is the organization’s largest fundraiser.

The Ellerbe Lions Club canceled its annual Fourth of July Jamboree, but club members had hoped to hold an event in the fall.

The Richmond County Chamber of Commerce last month canceled Hoptoberfest, the annual craft beer and chicken wing festival which was scheduled for October at Rockingham Dragway.

As of now, the Chamber’s Luau on the Links golf tournament is still on schedule for next month.

The City of Rockingham has also canceled every installment of the Plaza Jam summer concert series at Cole Plaza through August.

The North Carolina State Fair was also canceled for this year.

With Gov. Roy Cooper’s announcement earlier this week that North Carolina would remain under Phase 2 for another five weeks, it’s likely that the September concert will be canceled as well, though the city has not yet announced an official decision.