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Lake Festival is latest event to fall prey to pandemic / September 09, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has claimed another casualty of summer: the Virginia Lake Festival in Clarksville, one of the region’s largest gatherings with tens of thousands of people attending each year.

On Thursday, the board of directors of the Clarksville Chamber of Commerce announced the cancellation of this year’s festival, marking the first time in Lakefest’s 43-year history that the celebration by the lake will not go forward.

In a statement, executive director Sheila Cuykendall wrote, “The board of directors of the Clarksville Chamber of Commerce has decided to cancel due to the Phase 3 restrictions in hosting large events, which would only allow 1,000 attendees and as we all know, Lakefest is a largely attended event. It wasn’t an easy decision due to the economic impact Lakefest had for the county but it is in our best interest for us to hold value to the well being and safety of our community and for those attending.”

After deciding not to hold Lakefest at the height of summer in mid-July, the traditional timetable, the Chamber had sought to stage the festival over the Sept. 18-19 weekend, cutting a day off of the customary three-day schedule. The rescheduled event was not set to include tethered hot air balloon rides for kids, the traditional opening of Lakefest or carnival rides on Friday night.

While the festival is off for 2020, the Clarksville Chamber will hold a sidewalk sales marketing campaign to encourage people to come and “WanderLove” into Clarksville for shopping and dining with local businesses. Also, the Chamber is already moving forward with plans for Lakefest 2021.

“We would like to ask any of our merchants to participate in sidewalk sales/market on Sept 19,” wrote Cuykendall, urging businesses that are interested in participating to reach out to the Chamber at (434) 374-2436.

“Thank you all for your support and understanding as we all get through this and know that there is Hope!” wrote Cuykendall.

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