(Posted June 3, 2020)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
The South Charleston Heritage Commission recently announced the cancellation of this year’s Heritage Days, originally set for Sept. 25-26.
The festival features live music, a parade, children’s activities, vendors, food trucks and more. Organizers cited uncertainty about the future related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic as their reason for the event’s cancellation.
“There are many, many unknown factors,” said Sue Mattinson, Heritage Commission president.
Will social distancing rules still be in place at that time? Will people be comfortable with coming to the festival? With the pandemic’s impact on the economy, will families have money to spend at a festival? Will businesses have money to serve as sponsors? These are all questions for which the commission does not have answers.
What they do know is that social distancing would be difficult, if not impossible, with the festival’s set-up, Mattinson said. Heritage Days takes place outdoors, in and around the historic train depot and log house on West Mound Street. The nature of the event involves people mingling.
The commission also doesn’t have the manpower to keep up with some safety requirements related to COVID-19, such as cleaning food tent tables after every use.
“Planning a 2020 Heritage Days festival caused the trustees to face a high degree of heartache and economic risk as we weighed the health of visitors, vendors and volunteers,” Mattinson said. “With a sense of loss and sadness, the trustees made the decision to cancel the event this year.”
Mattinson said what she personally will miss is watching young visitors enjoy the historical games the festival offers.
“Last year, kids could pan for gold. We had hay bales they could jump on and play around on. That’s the part I will miss the most–not seeing kids enjoy some good, old-fashioned fun,” she said.
That being said, the commission already has its sights set on next year’s event.
“”We look forward to what 2021 will bring,” Mattinson said.
The first Heritage Days festival was held in 2014, picking up where the long-running Gingerbread Festival left off.
Greenlawn Cemetery Booklets
The Heritage Commission is selling Greenlawn Cemetery booklets. Based on the educational cemetery walks the commission put on in 2018, the booklet tells stories of early South Charleston residents and provides the meaning of common Victorian headstones.
The booklet sells for $5 (plus $2 for postage, if it is mailed). Orders can be placed by mail (Heritage Commission, P.O. Box 457, South Charleston, OH 45368), email (email@example.com), on the “South Charleston Ohio Heritage Commission” Facebook page, or by calling Sue Mattinson at (937) 503-2492.