ADRIAN — Adrian's popular downtown arts fair will forgo the event for the first time since its inception 13 years ago.
Organizers announced Wednesday the cancellation of Artalicious, scheduled for Sept. 18-19.
"While we recognize that things will gradually reopen over the summer and fall, the status of large gatherings is a definite unknown," a news release stated. "The health and safety of our artists, performers, vendors, sponsors and citizens is of the utmost importance. This decision was not made lightly."
Artists are booked for the fine arts fair through an online service. The registration window usually runs from April to June. However, committee chairman Don Taylor said they bumped registration back five weeks for more wiggle room.
"In March we started getting antsy," he said.
Despite the extended window, there was still too much uncertainty about how comfortable artists would be attending.
The weekend is an interactive one where patrons mingle with artists. Many artists also perform demonstrations for crowds.
"There's no guarantee about large crowds," Taylor said of future gathering guidelines. "We were looking at a reduced number of artists."
Last year's event featured more than 70 artists.
Sponsorship was another factor. Plenty of Artalicious' sponsors are facing their own challenges with unemployment as well as loss of business and revenue.
Restaurants are just one example. The fine arts fair hosts a taste event on the Friday of the event that features local restaurants.
"We did not feel we could go back to them and ask," Taylor said. "It didn't seem fair."
Much to the disappointment of many, Artalicious is likely to be just one of many community events that will be canceled this year.
"Unfortunately, I think it's a precursor to the long-term effects of the pandemic," said Matt Swartzlander, director of the Adrian Area Chamber of Commerce. "It's not going to be a one- or two-month thing. It's going to impact our local community events for the next few months, even a year."
It's not only restaurants and retailers who will miss Artalicious downtown for a weekend, Swartzlander said. It's also nonprofit organizations which miss out on an opportunity to promote their message.
"It's a great opportunity for the community to come together, and, sadly, it won't happen this year," Taylor said Thursday.
On the bright side, the Artalicious team will have another year to come up with new wrinkles for their event.
"We plan on coming roaring back for 2021," Taylor said.
Taylor did not rule out a possible one-day community celebration later this year if a best-case scenario presents itself.
However, like with many community events, only time will tell.
Artalicious is scheduled for Sept. 17-18, 2021.