SALISBURY, N.C. — As concerns over COVID-19 and the delta variant rise across the state and country, officials behind the annual Cheerwine Festival have decided to cancel this year's event.
The decision to cancel the event originally scheduled for Saturday, September 18 was made after careful consideration and guidance from the Rowan County Health Department, the city of Salisbury and Novant Health, according to a release Monday.
“We’ve been monitoring the situation closely, and have decided to cancel this year’s festival in order to ensure the health and safety of everyone involved in the event,” said W. Lane Bailey, Salisbury city manager. “This was not an easy decision, but following increased and overwhelming concerns, we feel this is the best way to proceed during our current situation.”
Over the past few weeks, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has been reporting daily COVID case numbers and hospitalization rates not seen since January and February of this year.
Governor Roy Cooper and state health officials have continued calls for vaccinations as city and county leaders have started to adopt new mask and social distancing mandates to help slow the spread. The state issued mandates expired in July.
Officials with the festival say they currently plan to hold next year's event in May.
“We’re grateful to all our fans who have attended in the past or planned to join us this year,” said Joy Ritchie Harper, vice-president of marketing for Cheerwine and fifth-generation founding family member. “We look forward to welcoming everyone to Salisbury in May 2022 when the festival returns.”