What would have been the 47th Delaware Arts Festival, scheduled May 16 and 17, has been canceled because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Mark Hardymon, Delaware Arts Festival Association president, made the announcement April 7 on the festival’s website.

The festival is held downtown with booths manned by artists and vendors lining portions of Sandusky and Winter streets. The 2019 festival had more than 180 booths.

“Due to the logistics of location and the fact that this organization is totally managed by volunteers, postponing the festival to later in the year is just not an option,” Hardymon wrote. “We have waited as long as we felt responsible to cancel, in an effort to stay positive amongst all the negative news surrounding this world health situation.”

All booth fees and sponsorship money will be returned, he wrote.

“We can’t thank you enough for your support and patience during these uncertain times,” he wrote.

Despite the cancellation, the not-for-profit festival’s scholarship program will continue this year, he wrote.

“Each year, we award $10,000 to local schools arts programs for special projects. In addition, we award scholarships, totaling $20,000, to three local high school seniors who are pursuing a career in visual arts to help with collage expenses. Because we all think it’s the right thing to do, we will continue to make those awards this year despite the cancellation of the festival,” Hardymon wrote.

An arts festival press release said the 2020 high school senior art scholarship winners are: first place, Preston Anderson, Olentangy Liberty High School; second place, Khang Van, Olentangy Orange High School; and third place, Kaleigh Ferrell, Olentangy Orange High School. A formal awards presentation could be scheduled later, the release said.

The $10,000 in grants “were presented to nine county art teachers, at all teaching levels, for their school’s art programs,” the release said.

Projects receiving funds include supplies for a mosaic school sign at Big Walnut’s Helen Souders Elementary School, a table saw and wood working supplies at Delaware’s Dempsey Middle School, and print-making supplies for Big Walnut Elementary School.

The festival also includes an annual high school art exhibit at the Delaware County District Library, 84 E. Winter St.

Hardymon emphasized the arts festival will continue in 2021.

“We are excited for things to get back to normal as soon as possible and begin our work on next year’s event. ... (I) look forward to seeing many of you next May 15 and 16, in a healthier 2021,” he wrote.

Lee Yoakum, Delaware city community affairs coordinator, lauded festival organizers for continuing the scholarship program this year.

“Bravo, arts festival! We can’t wait for May 2021 and the return of this awesome event and Delaware tradition,” he said.

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