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Winter Festival canceled for safety precautions

File Photo Members of the Mayville-Chautauqua Community Chamber of Commerce board announced Monday that the 2021 Presidents’ Day Weekend Winter Festival has been canceled. The annual event in Mayville includes the iconic ice castle, seen here in February of this year.

MAYVILLE — A decades-long tradition in Mayville will take a year off due to ongoing concerns with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Mayville-Chautauqua Community Chamber of Commerce board of directors announced Monday the cancellation of the 2021 Presidents’ Day Weekend Winter Festival, held each year since 1985 at Mayville Lakeside Park. The board and festival planning committee anticipate re-establishing the yearly tradition in 2022, complete with the signature ice castle.

The chamber board encourages the community to find other ways to support its member businesses, which usually would see a large bump in traffic during the Presidents’ Day weekend timeframe.

“We sincerely regret that we had to come to this conclusion, but we do so with confidence that it is the right decision to ensure the health and safety of our volunteer team, our members and our community,” said Sally Andriaccio, president of the Mayville-Chautauqua Chamber. “We’re excited instead to set our sights on 2022, and planning the biggest and best Winter Festival to help us celebrate being able to gather safely in large numbers again.”

In recent months, the planning committee consulted with town and village officials as well as the Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services to explore the possibility of hosting the festival in some capacity. The likelihood of continued strict health and safety regulations — plus the possibility of a forced last-minute cancellation regardless of the amount of time and funds invested — was more than the all-volunteer committee felt it could reasonably accommodate.

“In the end, we felt the kind of festival we might be able to pull off, if even permitted, would not provide the level of enjoyment and satisfaction we strive to deliver for our patrons and vendors,” Andriaccio said. “We’re so grateful to our wonderful group of volunteers who help each year to make the festival so successful — and who use the opportunity to raise funds to support wonderful local charities and youth programs. We look forward to working with them again next year.”

The 2022 Presidents’ Day Weekend Winter Festival will be held Feb. 18-20, 2022. Planning begins in fall 2021, and volunteers and sponsors are welcome.

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