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2020 Hogansville Hummingbird Festival canceled

By Jenna Oden

The Hogansville Hummingbird Festival committee announced Tuesday morning that the 23d annual festival has been canceled due to the safety concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic.

According to Festival Chairman Jason Stewart the festival, slated to be held in downtown Hogansville this October, has been rescheduled for next year.

A press release from the festival board said the decision to cancel the festival was made early so that vendors and visitors traveling long distances can avoid canceling their plans later on.

Hogansville Mayor Bill Stankiewicz said they have scheduled July 1 to make the decision months ago when the pandemic first hit.

“Our thinking was that we didn’t want to make the decision to early because we didn’t know what was going to happen,” Stankiewicz said. “We also didn’t want to make a decision to late after we started planning and spending money. Vendors needed to know.”

 The festival typically draws 15,000 or more people to Hogansville on the third weekend in October.

“Other festivals have a controlled environment where you can take a temperature, mandate masks and control entrances and exits,” Stankiewicz said. “At our festival, there are no gates and no entrance fee, and you can come in from 50 different directions. We had no way of testing temperatures of checking to see if anyone was symptomatic.”

Stankiewicz said the festival grounds get to packed out, making it impossible to social distance.

The Hummingbird Festival brought together arts and crafts vendors and musicians amid a large international food court.

“We normally have other events and activities in October as part of the festival,” Stewart said. “We will probably go forward with the 5K run.”

Vendors who have put down a deposit for booth space will be able to maintain their spot for the festival in 2021.

“Until there is a vaccine, I don’t see us being able to hold a festival for 15,000 people,” Stankiewicz said. “It would not only be impractical, it would be irresponsible.”

The annual Festival art contest was held in early spring, and LaGrange artist Andy Porter’s hummingbird painting was selected as the winner. Normally the winning art is used in festival posters and t-shirts.

“We’re considering going forward with the t-shirts this year,” Stewart said. “And, because this year is the 150-year anniversary of the incorporation of the city of Hogansville, the shirts could incorporate that event as well.”