Celebration of the 10-year anniversary of the Gateway to the Delta Festival will have to wait.
This week, organizers announced that the 2020 festival, which had been planned for Oct. 10 in Charleston, has been called off due to COVID-19.
“We want our 10th to be our best yet, and in light of the situation at this time, we don’t feel like we can go on,” said Carol Roark, executive director of the Charleston Arts and Revitalization Effort (CARE), which puts on the annual event that encircles Court Square.
She hesitated to use the word “canceled,” preferring instead to say that the gala has been “postponed” until the fall of 2021. A date will be announced later.
Shelving this year’s festival was a “difficult decision,” Roark said, despite the fact some vendors, musical acts and attractions had already backed out, and current state and local ordinances limit outdoor gatherings to 100 people even in areas where maintaining 6 feet of social distance is possible.
“We are hopeful that this time next year, the pandemic will be behind us and we can be ready to embrace and celebrate with our community the best festival ever,” Roark added.
As the granddaddy of all currently active festivals in Tallahatchie County, Gateway annually draws several thousand people for a day of free live music featuring some of the hottest acts around, dozens of arts and crafts vendors, food trucks, children’s inflatable games and activities, a petting zoo, car show, fun run and much more.
Gateway is CARE’s largest single source of annual revenue, Roark noted, explaining that because of that, gifts of tax-deductible donations “will be more important this year than ever.”
A limited number of full-color 18-by-24-inch posters and T-shirts featuring the official 10th anniversary Gateway artwork will be available for purchase. CARE commissioned the drawing from noted artist Cristen Craven Barnard.
Roark said the posters sell for $15, while the sandstone-colored festival T-shirts, in sizes ranging from small to extra large, are $20 each.
She encouraged anyone interested in these festival items to monitor CARE’s Facebook page for updates on availability, call the Charleston Arts Center at 647-0942, or drop by the CARE building during operating hours of 10 a.m. until noon, Monday through Friday.
IN THE PHOTO: The celebration may be on hold, but Gateway’s official 10th anniversary art by Cristen Craven Barnard is being made available for purchase in the form of posters and T-shirts.