By Libby Rosequist
On Monday, May 3, Gov. Tom Wolf announced the elimination of crowd restrictions on all public events in Pennsylvania, effective Monday, May 31.
The North East Fire Department has been in continuous contact with the long-standing amusement provider but the company is unable to be contracted this year.
“Although Pennsylvania will be opening, the organizers of the Crawford County Fair have already canceled their 2021 rides and at the end of April, the organizers of the Chautauqua County Fair canceled this year’s event as well, due to restrictions that remain in-place throughout the state of New York,” Fuller Hose President Billy Klenz said. “The amusement provider told us that without the other events linked together as part of their summer tour, they are unable to operate effectively, without suffering a serious financial loss.”
The fire department understands the significance Cherry Fest holds to the community and unfortunately, was unable to come up with a plan that did not include rides and that would still be able to meet its fundraising target.
As a result, Cherry Fest 2021 will look similar to last year, with a drive-thru food event.
“We will work to create the best event possible,” Klenz said. “But this type of event may not achieve the traditional Cherry Fest revenue.”
The North East Fire Department has also sent a letter to the local municipalities requesting funds to help pay for the annual vehicle and building insurance policy.
This year, the fund drive will resume door-to-door with members of NEFD seeking donations.
If anyone is interested in donating and would like a volunteer to stop by, leave a light on or watch for the NEFD members in the neighborhood from June 1 to 25.
Tickets can also be purchased at either fire department from 6 to 8 p.m. during ticket sales.
“We are grateful for the community coming together last year in support of us, mid-pandemic, and we hope to see everyone again this year,” North East Fire Department Chief Dave Meehl said. “We understand the disappointment in not having a ‘normal’ Cherry Fest but we are doing the best we can to get as close to that as possible. We are grateful for the ongoing support from our wonderful community!”
The drive-thru food tents will be in Heard Park starting Tuesday, July 13, to Friday, July 16, from 5 to 8 p.m. and Saturday, July 17, from noon to 5 p.m.
Firemen’s Cherry Festival sausage subs, straight cut and curly fries, hamburgers, hot dogs and
cherry pies will be available for purchase.
The ticket drop-off box will be located in front of Crescent Hose.
More details will be available closer to the event.