Last year, 30,000 Havasu residents and winter visitors were drawn to downtown Lake Havasu City for one of the city’s largest annual events. But Winterfest won’t be returning to Main Street this year, according to organizers, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Lake Havasu Area Chamber of Commerce announced the event’s cancelation this week, due to a rise in confirmed coronavirus cases throughout Arizona. The festival, which was scheduled to take place Feb. 20-21, was until this year the chamber’s most profitable annual event.
“Arizona has a current rate of one-in-five residents testing positive for the coronavirus,” said Chamber Events Manager Niki Nickle in a press release this week. “The safety of our residents and visitors outweighs any gains from moving forward with the event.”
Winterfest has in previous years drawn tens of thousands of visitors to downtown Havasu, where hundreds of craft, information, commercial and food vendors served customers and supported the local chamber of commerce. Nickle says the event’s cancelation will cause a substantial revenue loss for the chamber and the Lake Havasu City community.
“There is no foreseeable way to safely run an event of this magnitude without jeopardizing volunteers, residents and visitors,” Nickle said.
The chamber’s decision to cancel the event was the second loss in recent months suffered by the organization, due to the coronavirus. Chamber President Lisa Krueger tested positive for the coronavirus last month, but was willing to speak to Today’s News-Herald via telephone Wednesday about the event.
“We cannot take the risk of creating a bigger issue than the one that’s already going on right now,” Krueger said. “We just made the decision Wednesday. With me not being there, it’s even more difficult for us. We’re going to have to hold tight, wait until I get back, and then we’ll move on from there.”
The Lake Havasu Area Chamber of Commerce encourages residents to continue supporting local businesses and organizations. Residents who wish to become involved in the chamber, through membership or committee action, can contact Nickle at email@example.com, or call 928-855-4115.