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Italian Festival Again Canceled Due To COVID-19

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has again forced the cancellation of the annual St. James Italian Festival in Jamestown. Church officials are planning an event in place of the traditional festival. P-J file photo

The St. James Italian Festival has again been canceled due to COVID-19.

“Unfortunately, this year we’re not going to be able to do it either,” said Deacon Mike Lennon of St. James Church. “This is the second year in a row, but hopefully we’ll be back on track next year.”

Time is a factor in putting together the annual July festival. It would be difficult to plan and coordinate a multi-day festival in the event that guidelines are handed down closer to the starting date, Lennon said.

“The thing is, there’s a lot of preparation,” he said. “Even if they loosen things up by July 8 or 9, there’s just not enough time to get everything together.”

The Italian Festival has become a substantial fundraiser for St. James Church, but the cancellation of the event shouldn’t hurt the church too much with other fundraisers that have taken place or are in the works.

“It hurts us financially, but not that bad,” Lennon said. “We’ve had some drive-through things that we’ve been able to do, which helps us regain some of that money that we would’ve made at the festival. It’s not something that will really impact anything that we do.”

He added, “I think it hurts the community more because we have people from all over (who come and celebrate) — not only the Jamestown area but surrounding villages (and towns),” Lennon said. “It is a St. James event, but it’s more of a community event, (with) family and friends being able to get together.”

Lennon said the safety of the community comes first.

“We’re just not able to do a big event like that and have it be successful and have people be safe,” Lennon said. “The safety of the people comes first.”

St. James officials are planning to put together an event in place of the traditional Italian Festival. More details regarding that event will be made known toward the end of the month.

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