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Brookings Organizers Cancel July Summer Arts Festival

July 11 isn’t late enough to plan for public events. So says the Brookings Summer Arts Festival Board of Directors, which announced yesterday they are canceling this year’s arts festival:

Brookings Summer Arts Festival 2020 canceled
Brookings Summer Arts Festival 2020 canceled, notice from FB, 2020.04.30

Brookings hosted its first Summer Arts Festival in 1972.

Face masks, social distancing, and putting aside long-standing traditions for the sake of public health—that’s the new normal for 2020.


  1. Wade Brandis 2020-05-01

    It’s going to be a very different, and possibly, boring summer when it comes to events. Normally, this time of year, amateur baseball is getting ready for the upcoming season. VFW baseball is currently in “wait and see” mode, according to this news piece from KWYR radio:

    We will probably see a lot of big summer events, and smaller ones too, getting cancelled this summer for the first time ever. I just wonder if the Sturgis rally will be one of them? I’d imagine a lot of those bikers would be in a rage if it did get cancelled.

  2. Donald Pay 2020-05-01

    With Noem in charge of the pandemic response, you can be sure that she will do nothing to prevent stupidity from occurring.

    This is the night for ” Spring Gallery Night” in Madison, WI. It’s always a highly anticipated and popular event where artists display their creations in many galleries and eating establishments all over town. It attracts a hip art crowd, as well as just folks interested in art. That got cancelled, of course, but the sponsors decided to turn it into “Virtual Gallery Night,” where art will be displayed on line. I recommend that approach to these times. You keep the traditions going no matter what.

    I’m not sure how you could do a virtual Sturgis Rally, but I think it might be worth thinking about.

  3. Eve Fisher 2020-05-01

    Like the groundhog on Groundhog’s Day, the real sign that it will be safe to come out of our houses will be that the Governor will be seen in public, in Sioux Falls, without a face mask or gloves, in a crowd. But as long as she’s staying in Pierre doing pressers from her fortress of solitude – don’t risk it. “Open for thee, but not for me!”

  4. Scott 2020-05-01

    Thank you to the people who decided this event was not that important and did not need to unnecessary risk peoples lives.

  5. Debbo 2020-05-01

    When the astroturf gangs get wind of this will they send armed thugs to Brookings City Council meetings?

  6. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-05-02

    Boring summer, Wade? How about a summer of long walks and great books?

  7. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-05-02

    I like Donald’s mention of the virtual gallery night. It seems the Brookings Summer Arts Festival could also go online. Maybe an online BSAF would be redundant: the participating artists probably all have websites of their own. But BSAF has always been a juried event; getting in is a mark of honor, so maybe getting one’s art on the BSAF website could boost an artist’s attention and sales. And BASF could use an online festival to raise money for itself and replace what it will lose in entrance fees and commissions this summer.

  8. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-05-02

    Debbo, your comment about astroturf protests makes me wonder if we could spot a trend in the events that push to stay open and the events that cancel. We’ve seen car races open but an arts festival cancel early. Could summer be boring, as Wade warns, because only certain kinds of events appealing to a certain audience will choose to flaunt coronavirus precautions?

  9. Wade Brandis 2020-05-02

    Cory: for me, Summer is more about walking and reading books. I love the social interaction of downtown block parties, baseball games, carnivals, and various other kinds of entertainment. Without those, walking alone starts to get boring. After walking the local sidewalks and nature trails for so many days, you see largely the same stuff again and again, with the exception of the occasional wild animal sightings. Walking alone on the trail is a great way to stay healthy in times like this, but still, I long for the social interaction summer events normally bring.

    I’m also not much of a reader, preferring to watch TV or stream video off the internet. I was never the type of person who would read a novel cover to cover.

  10. Donald Pay 2020-05-02

    In this discussion between Cory and Wade, I come down on both sides. I like the festivals and art fairs and county fairs you get in summer, but I’m also outside a lot in the garden or in nature. During the growing season nature, light and water is always changing, so it’s never boring to me. And reading outside is, for me, the best place to read.

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