By Alyssa Schnugg
The 25th Double Decker Arts Festival is canceled for 2020.
During a special meeting Thursday, the Oxford Tourism Council and Visit Oxford agreed to cancel the popular event that was originally planned for April and rescheduled to take place in August.
Kinney Ferris, executive director of Visit Oxford told the council that when the event was rescheduled for August in March, it was done with the hopes that the COVID-19 virus would have been abated.
“We didn’t know how long this new pandemic would last or how long it would have these effects on us,” Ferris said. “We had thought within five months we’d be back to normal.”
Gov. Tate Reeves’ Executive Order still regulates large gatherings to less than 100 people.
“With August being right around the corner, we’re not sure that will change by then,” Ferris said.
Lee Ann Stubbs, Double Decker coordinator said the main concern of Visit Oxford is to keep citizens safe.
“We’ve been in contact with health officials … and we realized we cannot follow all the (CDC and local) guidelines,” Stubbs said. “This would have been our 25th anniversary. It was an exciting year for us. We want to take a pause and celebrate the festival in the spring of 2021.”
Pam Swain with the Oxford-Lafayette County Chamber of Commerce that sponsors the annual Double Decker 5K and 10K run said the run would be canceled for this year as well.
“Wearing masks while running would not be an option,” Swain said. “Our priority is the safety of our runners, spectators and those in the community who interact with our runners.”
The Tourism Council voted unanimously to cancel the 25th Double Decker Festival for 2020 until the spring of 2021.