The volunteer-run Picktown Palooza music and community festival is another traditional event lost in the wake of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
The Panger Productions board of directors, a nonprofit group of volunteers who organize and stage the annual event, announced June 10 this year’s show, which would have been held in July, has been canceled.
In a prepared statement, the organizers said:
“In planning a completely safe event for visitors and volunteers while complying with all of the governor’s orders and restrictions of crowd size and social distancing, safety with food and beverage and the possibility of not having rides, we have determined that the challenges of holding the 2020 event with this high degree of uncertainty is just beyond our abilities this year. Thank you to our volunteers who put in countless hours year after year to bring a safe, fun and family-oriented community event to all who attend.
“We also thank our city, township and county government officials and our many food vendors and corporate sponsors for their support over the years. The Panger Productions board will be back next year to present the event of the summer for our entire community and beyond.”
This year’s Picktown Palooza was slated for July 9 to 11 in Olde Pickerington. It would have featured carnival rides, a car and motorcycle show, a 5K run and live music each day, including a performance by Cinderella’s Tom Keifer as the 2020 headliner.
Panger Productions president Chris Stein said organizers held out hope the 2020 event could be held, but after state officials hadn’t provided guidance for staging festivals by June 9, a decision had to be made.
“Primarily, the reason why we wanted to hold out was because of the vendors,” Stein said. “These vendors have been decimated by all the events that have been canceled.
“But when you have an event like ours, it’s hard to social distance.”
Stein said the Picktown Palooza was expected to draw 15,000 to 18,000 people over its three-day run.
He said he was especially concerned about people maintaining social distancing
during concerts, which might draw 2,000 to 5,000 people to a small area.
“You just can’t 6-foot-distance thousands of people who are standing in an area for a concert,” he said. “We ran out of time to prepare.
“People understand. It’s a safety thing.”
This year would have marked the fourth straight year Panger Productions has held the event.
It was created after organizers of another annual summer event, the Violet Festival, decided not to hold that festival in 2017.
The Violet Festival was held for 18 years in Pickerington before its board members said debt and a lack of a major sponsor made it no longer sustainable.
Stein said the 2021 Picktown Palooza is planned for July 15 to 17, 2021.
He said the event continues to attract new sponsors, and organizers would work to bring back Keifer as a headline act for 2021.
Information about events and activities planned for the 2021 Picktown Palooza are available online at PicktownPalooza.org.