The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed yet another victim. Martinsville’s annual Oktoberfest has been cancelled for the second year in a row due to the continuing rise of new coronavirus infections.
“This is a decision that we have been contemplating for a while now,” said Kimberly Keller, the Uptown Entrepreneurial Development Manager with the Martinsville-Henry County Chamber of Commerce. While the decision is unfortunate, community safety was the determining factor.
“We wanted to ensure our vendors, our customers, our citizens, and our staff were safe. That is our main priority, and we didn’t want to have an outbreak of COVID as a result of Oktoberfest,” Keller said.
Oktoberfest has been a popular event in Uptown Martinsville since its inception. This year would have been the 41st celebration of the festival, which draws anywhere between 5,000 and 8,000 visitors and more than 200 vendors to the Uptown.
“It’s one of the best days for many of our Uptown businesses,” said Keller. “It’s great for individuals to get uptown and see these businesses that we have locally that they can come shop at and support.”
There are some alternative events in the works, however, to highlight the Uptown and allow vendors an opportunity to showcase their wares. Keller hopes to share details on some of those new endeavors soon.