Under The Harvest Moon Festival canceled due to COVID-19 pandemic

DOWAGIAC — This year’s Under The Harvest Moon Festival is the latest event to fall victim to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Due to COVID-19, the current state mandate that limits outdoor gatherings to no more than 100 attendees. Due to the uncertainty of future requirements, the Dowagiac Chamber of Commerce Board of Trustees decided to cancel the October event.

“As painful as it is — and it is painful — because the fall festival is well attended, however, we should not move forward,” said Kris Soenen, chamber treasurer and owner of Who Knew? Consignment. “I do not see how we can hold the festival, meet state mandates or put the public, volunteers and staff at risk.”

Under The Harvest Moon was the sixth downtown community event cancellation this year due to the pandemic that had also included Easter Extstravaganza, the Dowagiac Masons’ Memorial Day Parade, the DDA’s Summer Concert Series, Summer in the City and the Rod & Roll Classic Auto Show.

“These festivals provide free activities and events for people all over Michiana,” Soenen said. “They serve as an economic boon to gas stations, grocery stores and retailers. Visitors are able to see what Dowagiac is about and make return trips, so they’re long-term investments, as well.”

To prevent the cancelation of Christmas events, the board agreed to lengthen and repackage Christmas Open House Weekend as more of a retail-oriented promotion, possibly without family events, while also re-imagining how Breakfast with Santa may still take place. The Santa breakfast in December is co-hosted by the chamber and the Dowagiac Elks Lodge.

“We are taking it one month at a time,” Soenen said. “We’re hoping that social responsibility will kick in and that more pieces of the economy will open up. We’re also waiting on guidance from the state. If we can somehow re-imagine the remaining festivals and events in order to follow the guidelines, we’ll do so.”

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