Poultry Festival canceled over coronavirus impact

The ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis has forced the cancellation of the Batesburg-Leesville area’s largest outdoor gathering and one of the Midlands’ signature events.

The 2020 South Carolina Poultry Festival has been canceled, according to a release from the Poultry Festival Steering Committee this morning.

“After much consideration the South Carolina Poultry Festival will be cancelled this year, 2020,” the release stated. “The Steering Committee has reviewed the recommendations of the CDC (Center for Disease Control), the statements by the Honorable Governor of South Carolina, Henry McMaster, and the increase in cases of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).  These recommendations include limiting all large gatherings and the risk of spreading the Coronavirus.”

The Poultry Festival routinely attracts more than 100,000 patrons to the downtown Leesville district over a three-day period. This year’s festival was scheduled for May 7-9.

The festival, first staged in 1987, raises thousands of dollars annually for local charities.

“Safety of our citizens, attendees, vendors, and volunteers must come first. We appreciate the loyalty of all our vendors, sponsors, volunteers, crafters, car show participants, 5K entrants, volleyball teams, carnival, parade entrants and all others who make our festival possible,” the announcement stated.  “We understand that this cancellation may create a great inconvenience for you;  we sincerely apologize for that.  Unfortunately, the circumstances are completely beyond our control.”

Members of the South Carolina Poultry Festival committee now are in the process of notifying all sponsors, participants, crafters, vendors and other stakeholders. The announcement further stated that the Steering Committee would guarantee this year’s scheduled vendors the same spots at the 2021 festival.

Next year’s event is now scheduled for May 6, 7, and 8, 2021.