ST. JOHNSBURY – Due to safety and public health concerns associated with the COVID-19 virus, the Northeast Kingdom Chamber announced this week it would cancel its Colors of the Kingdom Festival, slated to be held on Sept. 19.
“We knew this decision was coming, but we were trying to figure out other ways in which to hold elements of the fair. It became apparent that even that could not be done at this time and we decided to cancel the event,” said Darcie McCann, executive director of the Northeast Kingdom Chamber. “The safety of our visitors and community members is our paramount concern.”
The decision was made especially difficult, said McCann, because there had been discussions on combining the autumn celebration with the St. Johnsbury World Maple Festival, which had been postponed on April 25 due to the virus.
“Both of our celebrations hope to be back next year, bigger and better than ever,” she said. Next year’s Colors of the Kingdom Festival will be held on Sept. 18, 2021.
This marks the first time in 26 years that the Colors of the Kingdom celebration has had to be canceled. The September festival has become a true community event, attracting between 5,000 and 7,000 people to St. Johnsbury. The annual celebration includes train rides, a vendor fair, bluegrass festival, farmers’ market and a plethora of other activities and also brings together more than 25 local organizations and 50 businesses.
“One of the main reasons we started the festival,” said the chamber director, “was to feature downtown St. Johnsbury. It is important, especially during these trying times, to support our businesses in the Kingdom, and our chamber plans to aggressively promote these establishments in the months to come as we come out of this crisis.”