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Fall Fling canceled

AHOSKIE – The Ahoskie Fall Fling has now joined other local festivals that have fallen victim to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This week, John Fritz, one of the co-founders and organizers of the Ahoskie Fall Fling, announced its cancelation for 2020. The event, now in its third year, was scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 17 in downtown Ahoskie.

Last year’s Fall Fling was the biggest and best ever in its short history.

“We waited as long as we could to determine what impact the coronavirus would have on the success of our event,” said Fritz, speaking on behalf of the Fall Fling planning committee.

“Because of all the unknowns we have right now for the vendors willing to have a booth and crowds of people around social distancing, we came to the conclusion that cancelling the event made the best sense for the public. We will now look forward to October 2021,” Fritz added.

The Fall Fling now joins the 2020 North Carolina Watermelon Festival (slated for late July/early August in Murfreesboro) as a casualty of COVID-19. Watermelon Festival officials announced last month that the 35th annual event would not be held this year.

The 2020 R-C Pork Fest (which is traditionally held in May) as well as Relay for Life events in Hertford County (April), Bertie and Northampton counties (both in May) have been either canceled outright or postponed.

“I have checked other regional events planned for later this year and the only one I can find that has not been cancelled is the Suffolk Peanut Fest in October, but even their information is shown as to be determined,” Fritz noted.

Ahoskie Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President Amy Braswell expressed sadness over the cancelation of Fall Fling, but said it’s the correct decision to make.

“There are too many variables to consider,” Braswell said. “Vendors are unsure and hesitant at this point. We invest too much money to have an unsuccessful event that is dependent on an unforeseen public health status and the residual, possibly even still current come October, emotional effects and concerns that attendees as well as vendors may have.”

Braswell added that her research into other regional events that at least for now are listed as postponed, have Oct. 17 as a possible new date.

“If we were all go forward with our events this year, we would be bunched on top of each other and that’s not good for any of us,” she stressed.

Barbara Walters, who heads up the annual Art Show and Sale that is held at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in conjunction with Ahoskie Fall Fling, agreed with the cancelation.

“I think it is a good decision to cancel this year,” she said. “The art show is cancelled too due to concerns about filling the [church] fellowship hall with artists and visitors in such an enclosed space.”

Chris Hunt leads the Ahoskie Fall Fling Car Show. He supports the decision to cancel this year’s event.

“As far as the car show goes, I think this might be a bad year for it because with everybody having to reschedule their car shows there’s already at least three car shows scheduled on that date [Oct. 17], and there’s liable to be more as we move forward over the next couple of months,” Hunt said.

“Ahoskie Fall Fling will return; we’ll make a big splash in 2021,” Fritz concluded.

 

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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