New Bedford cancels all events of more than 10 people through Labor Day

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WLNE) – New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell announced that all events in the city with more than 10 people in attendance will be canceled through Labor Day.

Mayor Mitchell says this is to protect public health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Festivals, parades, and other events that draw large crowds will all be suspended through Sept. 7.

This includes New Bedford’s Independence Day fireworks, and the city’s largest summer event, the Feast of the Blessed Sacrament.

The feast was scheduled for July 30 – Aug. 2 and usually draws hundreds of thousands of attendees, according to a city spokesperson. The event has been cancelled for 2020.

“This is not something that pleases me to tell everyone, but it’s the right decision to make for the safety and well being of all the residents of New Bedford,” said Michael Canasta, President of Club Madeirense S.S. Sacramento Inc., the group that organizes the festival.

The 50th annual Whaling City Festival scheduled for July 9 -12 has been postponed until after Labor Day. If the coronavirus is not under control by September, the festival organizer worries the event will have to be pushed to 2021, which he said would be financially detrimental.

“If we don’t run the festival this year there is a very good likelihood that the festival will close down,” said Michael Sylvia, President of the Whaling City Festival.

The New Bedford Folk Festival, which was also scheduled to happen in July, has been postponed to 2021.

“This will have an impact on us for many years,” said Rosemary Gill, the Executive Director of the Zeiterion Performing Arts Center, the company that organizes the folk fest.

She said the postponement of the festival will have an impact on the city’s tourism revenue.

“We bring in thousands of festival goers. Over 30% of them travel more than 50 miles, so they’re considered tourism to downtown New Bedford. We fill all of the hotels and bed and breakfasts in the area,” said Gill.

All of the artists who were slated to perform at the festival in July have signed on to play in 2021. If you already bought a ticket to the festival it will be honored next year.

Categories: Coronavirus, Massachusetts, New Bedford, News