Strawberry Festival 2021 canceled

This photo shows the crowds that were drawn to Strawberry Festival's 2019 event in Cedarburg, which is the last time the festival was held.

CEDARBURG ­- The 2021 Strawberry Festival has been canceled. The Festivals of Cedarburg Board made its decision Wednesday night based on current CDC guidelines and COVID-19 trends. The festival was scheduled for June 26-27.

“It wasn’t an easy decision to make,” said President Jim Pape in a press release. “We’re all looking forward to a sense of normalcy, to summer days when we can get out of our homes and gather together again. With vaccines becoming more and more prevalent, Strawberry Festival seemed like it might be the perfect opportunity for that - a small-town early summer outdoor festival. But we need to make sure we’re doing it safely, and current statistics and restrictions just make it too difficult to predict what conditions will be like in June.”

Strawberry Festival was also canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Festivals of Cedarburg decided to turn it into a mini virtual festival. Almost 1,000 people logged into the Virtual Strawberry Festival.

An estimated 50,000 people filled the streets of downtown Cedarburg for each day of the 2019 Strawberry Festival.

An informal survey was done by a Cedarburg resident regarding the 2021 Strawberry Festival, which was posted to Nextdoor in March. Some people expressed concern in the survey with the festival possibly happening this year, while others were fine with Strawberry Festival proceeding.

Executive Director BJ Homayouni said the board discussed moving the festival to a later date but decided that was not feasible.

“It takes many months to plan a festival,” Homayouni said. “Our staff has already put countless hours into coordinating and planning what we hoped would be a very celebratory Strawberry Festival. But our plan is to redirect our energy, and the enthusiasm of our vendors and merchants, into September’s Wine & Harvest Festival.  So we’d rather think of this as a delay - a suspension of the fun - rather than a cancelation. When the conditions are right for our Festivals to resume, and when it’s again safe to bring our festival attendees together, we’ll be ready to celebrate right along with them.”

The announcement of the festival’s cancelation received immediate comments from the public on the News Graphic Facebook page. Many people were upset that the festival was canceled and some thanked the Festivals of Cedarburg Board for making that decision.

Cedarburg’s Wine & Harvest Festival is scheduled for Sept. 18-19 and will be followed a few weeks later by Oktoberfest, scheduled for Oct. 2-3.