SummerFest, Independence Day Celebration Still On

Staff Writer

Many area summer festivals have been rescheduled or canceled because of the restrictions associated with slowing the spread of the coronavirus. Two of the county’s major festivals — the Summer Moon Festival in Wapakoneta and SummerFest — are currently still a go.

Organizers with both festivals have announced bands have been booked and deposits paid, but details are lacking at this point.

St. Marys Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Diana Green said the SummerFest Board is taking the annual event day by day and was encouraged by the news that dance floors may be opening up. 

“I am very positive about proceeding with this,” she said, adding that a ride company that wants to come in if allowed. 

Green said area high school bands were also excited to come as well and that the chamber and the board is trying to grow the number of high school bands participating each year. 

She has heard nothing but encouragement from local agencies and said there still may be options for a parade and cruise-in. 

“It’s about bringing surrounding communities together,” Green said. “My community needs this and wants this."

In New Knoxville, the Independence Day celebration has been largely canceled, according to the New Knoxville Community Park Association. Fireworks will still take place at 10 p.m. June 27. The association will be following social distancing guidelines by requiring spectators to remain in their cars. Chicken dinners will also be served from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Pre-sale tickets can be purchased through a New Knoxville junior class member, Main Street Station or the New Knoxville Legion Post 444. Meals can then be picked up at the Legion.

The Minster Oktoberfest committee is currently awaiting guidelines and a beer permit to move forward.

“We are still preparing as if we are holding the festival,” said committee president Craig Oldiges.

He said they have been in contact with the Auglaize County Health Department, the state health department and governor’s office. While they’re not exactly sure what may be required they have an idea based on guidelines for restaurants and other venues. Even if the festival as a whole can’t go on certain aspects might. He said board members were still determining if a 10K race would be held in person or virtually.

“It will still be considered the 46th Oktoberfest,” Oldiges said. Commemorative items such as buttons, mugs and lapel pins will be ordered and sold even if the festival doesn’t happen. He considered mid-August as the cutoff for a final decision and that liquor or beer permits for events haven’t been issued since back in march. Oldiges said beer and the funding it brings was an important part of the festival.

Bremenfest has been canceled because of coronavirus concerns.