FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — The Three Rivers Festival will go on as planned but without one of the mainstays of the annual event. The festival’s Board of Directors on Tuesday announced the cancellation of the parade.
The board said the decision was made after “taking into consideration the health risks involved and difficulties in hosting the festival’s largest event.”
Officials said other festival events will be spread out for social distancing and safety measures. The parade was a bigger challenge, though, as more than 50,000 people attend annually.
In a news release, festival officials said they were thankful to see an increase in vaccination rates which will allow for a return of the festival after it was canceled in 2020. Organizers are hopeful for a return of the parade in 2022 after a two-year hiatus.
The Three Rivers Festival has been a tradition in Fort Wayne since 1969. It is the second largest summer festival in the state.
Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry said he met with the festival’s board and the Allen County Department of Health recently to discuss the possibility of holding a parade. Henry said he supported the decision to cancel the event.
“We recognize that this is disappointing news for our community, but we have to ensure that our community is as safe as possible,” said Henry. “There wasn’t going to be a way to have a parade that would allow for proper social distancing. The safety and well-being of the public is the top priority. I’m appreciative that the Three Rivers Festival Board of Directors does plan to move forward with this year’s Three Rivers Festival event with safety protocols and procedures at the forefront.”
Henry said city administration was working with all local festivals and event organizers to “help ensure that event organizers can be in position to have safe gatherings that the public can enjoy this summer.”