Barrie ON - The Kempenfest leadership team has been meeting with municipal, provincial and federal governments on a regular basis to monitor the COVID-19 crisis. Following the strict guidelines from the Health Minister and health professionals, it has been decided to move the 50th anniversary celebration to 2021. The festival was set to take place in Barrie, Ontario from July 31 to Aug 3, 2020. This is the first time in history that the event has been cancelled.
The number one concern of government officials and Kempenfest is the need to protect the health and safety of volunteers, vendors, guests and partners. “It is the right decision to protect the health of the Kempenfest community," states Louise Jackson, General Manager. "We want our visitors and participants to know that the show cannot go on as planned this year and that safety is our number one priority."
Kempenfest has a local economic impact of approximately 12 million dollars to the community and supports multiple charities across the region. Kempenfest is comprised of not-for-profit organizations that collectively own the name Kempenfest. These charities include; The Kiwanis Club of Barrie, The Barrie Chamber of Commerce, The Knights of Columbus, The Optimist Club of Barrie, The Rotary Club of Barrie, The Barrie Art Club along with associate members Tourism Barrie and the City of Barrie for direction and support of land use during the festival weekend. "This was a very tough decision as these charities rely on this money each and every year for their commitments back into our community and that money simply won’t be there this year," says Todd Tuckey, Chair of Kempenfest.
While festival goers will not be able to enjoy Kempenfest with the crowds on the lakeshore this summer, organizers are already planning exciting and innovative ways to join in some fun. Follow @kempenfest on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter & kempenfest.com for up to date information.
Kempenfest is Barrie’s signature summer event that brings thousands of visitors to our region annually to enjoy a day on the waterfront it is a summer tradition to so many people that will be missed this year. Tourism Barrie looks forward to working with Kempenfest on its plans to keep the festival top of mind and be ready to support it when it comes back in 2021 to celebrate its 50th anniversary” comments Kathleen Trainor, Executive Director of Tourism Barrie.
Kempenfest presented by RBC is North Americas largest outdoor arts and crafts festival. The not-for-profit organization comprised of a number of local service clubs, including The Barrie Art Club, Rotary Club of Barrie, The Optimist Club of Barrie, The Barrie Chamber of Commerce and the City of Barre who join forces to create the amazing weekend you enjoy each year for the past 50 years. The weekend represents thousands of hours of volunteer planning and execution of the event. In the past 50 years, it is estimated that Kempenfest has helped raise over ten million dollars for local charities.