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Pridefest 2020 has been canceled

Shenandoah Valley Pride Festival in Harrisonburg, 2019.
Shenandoah Valley Pride Festival in Harrisonburg, 2019.(WHSV)
Published: Jun. 30, 2020 at 6:28 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) — Virginia Pride announced that the annual Pridefest held on Brown’s Island has been canceled due to COVID-19.

Virginia Pride made the decision out of an abundance of caution and concern for the safety of the artists, volunteers, vendors, patrons and sponsors that are the foundation of the annual event.

The festival, which draws more than 40,000 attendees and is supported by many of the region’s biggest companies, was originally scheduled to be held on Sept. 26.

“Our first and foremost concern is for the health and safety of our community,” James Millner, President of Virginia Pride said. “While there was some hope that restrictions on larger outdoor events would have eased by September, we could not, in good conscience, hold an event that put anyone at risk.”

Limiting the size and scope of the event was also not an option for organizers.

Brown’s Island is a public park with multiple entrances and controlling access to the event would have been virtually impossible.

Virginia Pride has formed a special committee to explore more virtual programming for the remainder of the year.

The organization is also leaving the door open for smaller, in-person events to bring the community together should state and local officials say it is safe to gather.

This year would have been one of the most festive PrideFests ever as Virginia recently enacted sweeping laws that go into effect tomorrow, July 1, that extend discrimination protections to LGBTQ people, becoming the first state in the South to do so.

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This will be only the second time in 40 years that Richmond has not had some sort of annual pride event.

Copyright 2020 WWBT. All rights reserved.

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