By Michael DePietro
Canal Fest of the Tonawandas 2021 has been officially canceled, North Tonawanda Mayor Arthur G. Pappas announced Tuesday. The event was scheduled for July 18-25.
During the city's Common Council work session, Pappas said the decision was made at a recent meeting with City of Tonawanda and North Tonawanda officials, including the mayors, fire chiefs, police chiefs and emergency personnel.
"It was unanimously decided that Canal Fest should not happen this year due to the (COVID-19) restrictions and the lateness of the plans and everything coming forward," Pappas said. "It didn't seem practical; it didn't seem like it was possible to do what the committee was recommending.
"Everyone's a little bit saddened by this, because everyone was looking forward to activities opening up this summer; but it seems like the logistics and what's involved with the alternate plans – due to construction and so on in the downtown area – especially in the City of Tonawanda this year and the traffic flow – there were so many questions and constraints that it was unanimously decided that it should not be held this year."
The Tribune has reached out to Canal Fest of the Tonawandas Inc. for comment.
This is the second year the beloved, long-running festival has been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Created in 1983, Canal Fest has been a bilaterally coordinated festival, primarily located near Renaissance Bridge, which connects the neighboring cities along the Erie Canal. The festival was created with three goals: To promote downtown businesses on both sides of the canal; to raise funds for nonprofit organizations; and to provide the local communities with fun and recreation.