WOONSOCKET – A popular festival that has brought tens of thousands of guests to the Blackstone Valley every year for the past four decades will not take place in 2020, organizers announced today.
Autumnfest has been cancelled this year, with 2020 dubbed, “The Year That Didn’t Happen,” members of the steering committee noted in a release.
“We are deeply saddened by this decision, however we have chosen this path to put our community first and keep all safe and healthy as our top priority,” the release noted.
It will be the first time in 42 years that the popular Columbus Day weekend festival does not take place in Woonsocket’s World War II Memorial Park. The celebration traditionally includes a parade, entertainment, arts and crafts vendors, rides and a fireworks display.
“The planning for Autumnfest does take all year long and trying to accomplish the logistical tasks in this uncertain environment with regulations and restrictions constantly changes makes pulling off a celebration like this nearly impossible,” the release noted.
Organizers said they will be holding some smaller pop up contests and promotions for Autumnfest in 2020, and that a smaller parade of vehicles will drive around the city on Columbus Day to show support for the 2020 Grand Marshals: essential workers and first responders.
“We know how disappointing this decision is and we want everyone to know that we share that emotion with all of you,” said General Chairperson Garrett Mancieri. “There are things in life, such as this situation, which are simply out of our control and all we can do is make the best out of it and use this time and opportunity to plan for a better celebration next year in 2021 and for many more years to come.”
Mancieri said the committee intends to return next year with the best festival to date.
The largest festival of its kind in Northern Rhode Island, Autumnfest is put on through a collaboration between the volunteer steering committee and Rotary Club of Woonsocket.
Rotary Club President Roger Bouchard said the club shares disappointment as the cancellation of the long-standing tradition
“The Woonsocket Rotary Club stands committed to partnering again in 2021 to make this festival even better and unify the community once again showcasing the special community that we are fortunate to call our home,” Bouchard said.