CHESTERTOWN — The Sultana Education Foundation’s Downrigging Weekend Festival, set for the end of October, has been called off this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a post on the SEF’s Facebook page.
“Since the success of last year’s event, Sultana’s Downrigging Committee — as well as our partner Tall Ships, vendors and musicians — has been hard at work planning for this year’s festival. Not surprisingly the arrival of COVID-19 this winter has proven an insurmountable challenge,” reads the July 23 Facebook post from SEF President Drew McMullen, board Chairman Chris Havemeyer and Brooke Logan Packard, Downrigging chairperson.
Several alternate formats for the festival were explored, but in the end it was determined that none would provide the quality experience that people have come to expect from Downrigging, according to the Facebook post.
The Downrigging Committee already has begun to turn its attention to next year’s festival, scheduled for Oct. 29-31.
“With a little luck, and the hard work of our incredible medical community, we hope to be back bigger and better in 2021. Until then, please stay safe and support those in need in your local community,” the Facebook post reads.
As the festival takes a pause in 2020, the public is asked to consider supporting one of the nonprofit Tall Ship partners that have worked for two decades to help make Downrigging the Chesapeake’s premier waterfront festival. They include: Sultana Education Foundation (schooner Sultana), Kalmar Nyckel Foundation (Kalmar Nyckel), Pride of Baltimore Inc. (Pride of Baltimore II), Nauticus Foundation (Virginia), Living Classrooms (Lady Maryland and Sigsbee) and Lynx Educational Foundation (Lynx).
If you are a fan of the bluegrass music that became an integral part of Downrigging in 2019 and want to support some of the artists who have been particularly hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic, consider making a contribution to the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Trust Fund for COVID-19 Relief.