A pair of Swanton summer traditions have been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Both the Fireworks Fest and Corn Festival will not be held this year.
Safety and financial considerations were among those cited for canceling the fireworks. Swanton Village Council voted unanimously on May 26 not to hold the show this year.
“I’m not in favor of having them this year, I am really not. And I enjoy them just as much as the next person,” said Council member Kathy Kreuz.
“I would hate to be responsible for getting anybody sick. I don’t care if they are old or not,” she added.
Councilman David Pilliod said the logistics of holding the fireworks and the ongoing pandemic related restrictions precluded the village from having the display this year. “Unfortunately, it’s a bad situation,” said Pilliod.
With mass gatherings still prohibited in the state people would be unable to gather in large numbers at the high school to watch the fireworks.
Fireworks have been canceled in Toledo and Sylvania, while the Maumee-Perrysburg fireworks have been postponed with no new date set.
“With so many other communities canceling fireworks we could reasonably expect to see a significant increase in crowd size, and it would be difficult, if not impossible, to manage or control the six-foot social distancing protocols,” said Toeppe.
There was also a financial concern. Mayor Neil Toeppe said donations, which account for about half the total cost of $25,000, “virtually dried up.”
The mayor said given the circumstances he believes that Council made the correct decision based on economic and safety concerns. He also disagreed with those who said canceling the fireworks infringed on freedom or liberty.
“To have or not to have a public Independence Day celebration does not infringe on anyone’s freedom or liberty,” said Toeppe, who is a U.S. Air Force veteran. “I will be celebrating our independence at home with family as I did this past Memorial Day.”
The Swanton fireworks were originally scheduled for June 27.
It was announced Monday that the Corn Festival would also be canceled.
“It is with great sadness that the Swanton Corn Festival steering committee has decided to cancel the traditional festival for Aug. 15,” said a press release from Chairman Alan Robasser. “This would include the All Class Reunion on Aug. 14. Thank you to everyone for your tolerance and acceptance of this tough decision.”
The committee has proposed a different way of celebrating during what would have been Corn Festival.
They would like to encourage a community wide involvement to decorate homes, lawns, and businesses the week of August 9-15. In this way by driving or walking around the village and surrounding area, the spirit of the Corn Festival can live on in 2020.
“The safety of our community, volunteers, first responders, and vendors is a primary concern. State guidelines regarding large gatherings and social distancing are likely to prevail through the summer months, preventing practical conditions to prepare and orchestrate an event of this nature. Our sponsors have previously been very supportive to maintain the festival and this is a difficult time asking them to participate financially,” said the release.
The Corn Festival committee looks forward to and anticipates a fantastic return of the traditional Corn Festival in August 2021.
Reach Drew Stambaugh at 419-335-2010