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Artsfest now has been canceled twice this year. Last year, it brought in around 20,000 attendees.
Photo provided by Downtown Springfield Association
Artsfest now has been canceled twice this year. Last year, it brought in around 20,000 attendees.

Artsfest, Cider Days canceled

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Two of Springfield's largest events have been called off this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Artsfest and Cider Days, which collectively tally tens of thousands of guests annually, will not be held as planned Sept. 19-20, according to a news release from event organizers Springfield Regional Arts Council and Downtown Springfield Association. Both events bring in about 20,000 attendees each, said DSA spokesperson Jeff Kessinger.

“The safety of our artists, staff, volunteers and community are of our utmost concern and we feel at this time it is the right thing to do,” said Jennifer Moseley, DSA event manager, in the release.

Artsfest previously was canceled in May due to the pandemic, and officials had planned to combine it with Cider Days in September, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting.

SRAC Executive Director Leslie Forrester said the pandemic has been "extremely hard" on the Springfield community and that "the arts have certainly felt the full effect of the ongoing closures and limitations put in place to battle COVID-19." The annual art festival generates 30% of SRAC’s revenue, according to past reporting.

"Artsfest has always been the crown jewel of the SRAC’s work to promote the arts and provide opportunities for artists, so canceling the event again is deeply disappointing," she said in the release. 

DSA and SRAC officials are working on solutions this year to help artists display their work in lieu of Artsfest and Cider Days. Next year’s Artsfest has been scheduled May 1-2, 2021, and Cider Days is slated to be held Sept. 18-19, 2021, according to an Artsfest Facebook post.

Artsfest first began in 1980 at Phelps Grove Park, and it moved to Walnut Street in 1990. Cider Days started in 1997 on Walnut Street, according to SBJ archives. Both events feature regional artists, musical performances and food offerings.

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