Cuyahoga Falls Oktoberfest canceled due to coronavirus

PHIL KEREN
Reporter
Thousands flooded Front Street for the Cuyahoga Falls Oktoberfest in 2019. Organizers have announced that the 2020 festival has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

CUYAHOGA FALLS — The longest running annual event in the city’s downtown has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The organizers of the Cuyahoga Falls Oktoberfest said Wednesday that they made the “difficult decision” to cancel the 41st annual festival that was scheduled for Sept. 18-20. This is the first time in its history that the event has been canceled, according to Billy Harding, chairman of the Oktoberfest Committee.

“During these uncertain times of the COVID-19 pandemic, the safety and well-being of the community is our main concern,” the committee announced in a release. “…We have put much thought and consideration into this decision, and we determined that we could not safely hold a festival for our patrons, volunteers, and vendors the way we would like to and have done in the past.”

Oktoberfest is one of three yearly festivals that typically occur downtown during the summer and early fall. Organizers of the Riverfront Irish Festival (which happens in June) and Festa Italiana (which happens in July) previously announced the cancellation of their events due to COVID-19. The city in April canceled its summer events, including Falls Downtown Fridays, Farmers’ Market in the Falls, Flicks on the Falls, Keyser Concert Series, Kids’ Carnival, Mobile Rec Park Schedule, Safety Town, and Touch a Truck.

Though Oktoberfest will not happen, a related event and other activities will still move forward. The 22nd annual Dick Holle Oktoberfest Charity Golf Outing is scheduled for Aug. 15 at Brookledge Golf Club, 1621 Bailey Road.

Oktobefest organizers said they will also be talking with local businesses and the event’s brewery partners about ways to both raise money for the event’s main charities in October and “to celebrate the Oktoberfest season.”

The 2021 Oktoberfest is scheduled for Sept. 17, 18 and 19.

Since the first event in 1980, Cuyahoga Falls Oktoberfest has raised about $1 million that has been donated to multiple local charities and to fund scholarships for high school seniors. The event typically attracted several thousand people to the Front Street area in the city’s downtown.

For more information, visit the event’s website at www.oktoberfestcfo.com and its Facebook page.

Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at 330-541-9421, pkeren@recordpub.com, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.