SANFORD, Fla. — After months of cancellations, special events are set to begin again in historic downtown Sanford.   

What You Need To Know

  • Sanford has had to cancel 69 events, including Oktoberfest

  • Events draw visitors, bring revenue to Sanford

  • Events this year to be smaller, with safety precautions

“It really is part of our tradition and part of our culture. So, to not have those things is very sad,” Hollerbach's Willow Tree Cafe owner Christina Hollerbach said. 

Normally, she would be gearing up for Hollerbach’s huge Oktoberfest celebration, which brings thousands of people to downtown Sanford, but this year it’s been canceled.

Oktoberfest has lots of company. Since mid-March, the City of Sanford has had to cancel 69 special events.   

“They are part of the life blood of what’s going on down here,” West End Trading Co and Celery City Craft owner Paul Williams said.

Like Hollerbach, he’s usually busy planning several special events throughout the year. 

After a quiet few months, they are back at it again.   

With Florida now in Phase 3 of the emergence from the COVID-19 pandemic, special events are moving forward in Sanford. The next event coming is the Food Truck Fiesta, which is set for October 17.

“Special events are just part of the fabric, the color and the vibrance of our community,” Jennifer Brooks, Sanford’s special events supervisor, said. 

Sanford has scheduled 14 special events between October and the end of December. The festivities are going to have smaller crowds, and safety precautions will be necessary because of COVID-19, Brooks said.

“Our merchants and our guests are going to do their absolute best to follow the rules, wear their masks, disinfect, help their neighbor to make sure that these events can continue,” Brooks said. 

“We’re trying to figure out how we can implement these things safely and to a level that’s acceptable for everyone,” Williams said. 

As a big source of revenue and a way to bring energy back to the area, Hollerbach said this is an important step forward.  

“People are getting more confident coming out again, which is good, but I think we still need to be safe and ease back into things and just do it the right way,” Hollerbach said. 

Upcoming Special Events Planned in Sanford in 2020 — By Date


     Date                     Event

  • 10/17/2020          Sanford Food Truck Fiesta
  • 10/24/2020         Welcome Center’s Drive-In Movie & Music Night at Henry’s Depot 
  • 10/24/2020         Sanford Jazz in the Park at Centennial Park
  • 10/31/2020          CAAM 200K to the Beach and Back! 
  • 10/31/2020          Sanford Avenue Block Party at Sanford Brewing Company
  • 10/31/2020          Celery City Cruisers on Seminole Blvd.
  • 10/31/2020          Welcome Center’s Drive-In Movie, Florida State Market, benefits Central Fla. Zoo
  • 11/12/2020          Alive After Five: “Souper Sanford,” the longest-running Street Festival
  • 11/21/2020          Sanford Food Truck Fiesta
  • 11/26/2020         Turkey Day 5K
  • 11/28/2020         Sanford Avenue Block Party at Sanford Brewing Company
  • 11/28/2020         Welcome Center’s Drive-In Movie & Music Night at Henry’s Depot
  • 12/10/2020         Alive After Five: The longest-running Street Festival