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Arts in the Heart canceled due to COVID-19 concerns

Published: Jul. 23, 2020 at 10:55 AM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - With fears of COVID-19 still causing many events to be canceled locally, statewide, and nationwide, festival organizers with Arts in the Heart say they are canceling their event, as well.

Festival organizers say the recent spike in COVID-19 cases pushed them to make the decision.

“As we cautiously planned the 2020 Festival it was heartwarming to receive support with over 185 applications for the Fine Arts and Craft Festival, Performing applications to fill the 5 stages and nearly 20 International Food Booths. Our media sponsors and major sponsors were working with us to produce another wonderful celebration of everything ‘art’ in Augusta,” a statement from the group said.

The announcement was a pretty big blow as this year’s festival was supposed to bring in about $1.7 million.

“We really thought that by now -- by September -- that we would be in much better shape,” Brenda Durant, the executive director of the Greater Augusta Arts Council, said.

Durant says despite the disappointment, people understand.

“The response has been overwhelmingly understanding with sadness, and I think that’s the general feeling, like I’m so sad that it won’t happen, but I totally understand why it can’t,” Durant said.

But the decision doesn’t come without 80,000 people missing out on something Durant says has tied the community together.

“We make sure that everyone who comes sees themselves at the festival,” Durant said. “Augusta is a home to so many different people from all over the world. We want to make sure that everyone knows that they’re welcome for them here, and there’s a place for them here.”

This year was supposed to be the 40th anniversary for the festival and Durant says they’re redoing the celebration next year.

Vendors will be getting money back in their pockets as booth fees are being fully refunded.

Copyright 2020 WRDW/WAGT. All rights reserved.

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