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Allentown Art Festival cancelled. Is Taste of Buffalo next?

Could the Summer festival season be postponed?
Posted at 2:25 PM, Apr 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-07 20:18:07-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Monday, one of the biggest kickoff to summer events in Buffalo, the Allentown Art Festival announced it was canceling its June 2020 show due to COVID-19 concerns.

“It’s something we’ve been agonizing over for the last couple weeks,” said Rita Harrington-Lippman of the Allentown Art Festival. “We do work all year to prepare for the festival in June. We understand the economic and social affect the Allentown Art Festival has on Buffalo.”

Harrington-Lippman says the Allentown Art Festival crew works year-round to get the festival together, but so soon after COVID-19 is peaking, leadership felt it best to cancel.

“The last thing we would want to do is endanger the people of Buffalo, the vendors, and also bringing 200,000 people together so soon after this is peaking we felt it could lead to an unsafe situation,” she said.

Festival leadership says it’s only canceled once in its 63 year tenure.

“And that was when Robert Kennedy was assassinated,” she said.

Allentown is the first summer festival to officially call it quits in Western New York.

Buffalo’s Dyngus Day celebration announced it will be postponing it’s April celebration until it is safe to congregate in public.

PRIDE in Buffalo was scheduled for June 1-7. Pride organizers say the group has yet to announce any plans of postponing.

Buffalo’s Greek Festival organizers say the festival which was scheduled for June 5,6,& 7 will either be held in September or cancel altogether.

Buffalo's Juneteenth organizers tell 7 Eyewitness News the festival will have its 45th consecutive celebration will still take place this year — just not on its intended date.

The Taste of Buffalo, which in 2019 brought more than 400,000 people to downtown Buffalo says, “We’ve had a lot of conversations and planning meetings, and have some gut-wrenching decisions to make. Right now it’s scheduled for July 11 and 12 and there are no plans to move to a later date,” said Erin Collins with the Taste.

Collins says the Taste of Buffalo crew will continue to monitor COVID-19 and make a decision by mid-May on whether to carry on or cancel for 2020.

“That decision will be made in conjunction with the New York State Health Department,” she said.

Buffalo’s Italian Festival crew says its board will reconvene at the end of April to make a determination on the July 18 and 19th festival.

Organizers with the Erie County Fair says the fair is still scheduled to bring the “best 12 days of summer” to the Hamburg Fairgrounds August 12-23. The decision to cancel would be in conjunction with state orders.