For the first time in 21 years, the Kincardine Scottish Festival is cancelled.
Festival President Tony Doherty says they've been watching the increase in cases in Canada and came to the conclusion Monday night, "We think it's the best thing to do in the interest of the health and safety of our family, friends, community and one another. We think it's the proper thing to do. It was a heart-rending thing to have to do."
Doherty says this week was the time to decide once and for all whether or not the festival would go on. "Continuing any further, there's such a program to be set up and so many people to contact, going too close to the festival, then having to cancel would have repercussions on the artists the event as a whole."
Doherty says they did try to look at pushing it back to August or September, but after meeting with a number of different groups involved in the festival, they concluded it was best to cancel it right now, "It's not fair to our community as a whole to cancel it then."
Doherty says Kincardine is known for its massive celebration of its Scottish roots and sees visitors and bands not just from around the area but from as far afield as the UK, Ireland and the United States.
300-400 volunteers put the festival on every year. Doherty says between 10,000 and 15,000 visitors attend.
He notes it will have a major impact on the business community in Kincardine which he says is already struggling with changes due to the pandemic.
"They depend on that money, we know that. We're all in this together and next year we're going to come back bigger and better."
Doherty notes there's a possibility of making next year's festival a week long. It would have been scheduled for July 3rd, 4th and 5th.