Each September, custom cars and classic cycles fill downtown Ripon, pets parade Watson Street and live music echoes for blocks.
This year, however, downtown Ripon will be much quieter as Septemberfest, the city’s fall festival, has been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The event was originally going to be held Saturday, Sept. 19. However, it is set to return Sept. 18, 2021. This year’s annual pet parade will be a Facebook Live event hosted by the Green Lake Area Animal Shelter Sept. 19.
The event’s musical entertainment — including the Mecan River Ramblers, the Tuba Dan Band and The Presidents — have all agreed to perform at Septemberfest 2021.
Ripon Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jason Mansmith cited multiple reasons for the event’s cancellation, the primary being health and safety concerns associated with assembling a large group of people downtown.
“With this particular event, there’s going to be a lot of cars and motorcycles and they’re going to be packed in pretty close [together] in a three- to four-block area, so it doesn’t really present us with space to socially distance,” Mansmith said.
Additionally, he noted there’s a lot of planning that goes into hosting a large event in terms of health and safety protocols and that there wasn’t not enough manpower or time to safely organize Septemberfest this year.
“We have a very small committee of four that runs that event, so to make sure that we’re doing things correctly to do the event safely — we simply didn’t have enough people there to help us with that,” Mansmith said.
He added the chamber didn’t feel right asking downtown businesses to pitch in financially to host Septemberfest as they’ve all taken a fiscal hit from the pandemic.
Read the full story in the July 30, 2020 Ripon Commonwealth Press.