POINT PLEASANT — A couple events, including the Siege of Fort Randolph and Bikes, BBQ and Bluegrass, have been canceled in the City of Point Pleasant due to the COVID-19 outbreak, but the events throughout the summer are uncertain.
“Any event that is canceled in the city is devastating to all of us because of the impact that it has for our city, our people, our businesses and it’s something that we don’t like to even talk about,” Mayor Brian Billings said. “Under these circumstances that we’re living in with COVID-19, there are events that will not be taking place this year.”
The Siege of Fort Randolph was scheduled for May 15-17 but canceled due to the current stay-at-home order.
As previously reported, the Bikes, BBQ and Bluegrass event was scheduled for June 12-13 but was canceled in March.
“Given the risk of the prolonged effects of the current worldwide crisis, it is both unrealistic and unfair for our committee to inquire about sponsorship from our local businesses and community partners who face serious economic challenges,” Roush said in the cancellation announcement. “Without our sponsors and partners, we cannot afford the cost of providing the type of event our community deserves.”
After those events, the next events in the city are Mayor’s Night Out, beginning the first Friday in June and Liberty Fest on July 4. Billings said city council would be waiting until the May meeting to discuss these events. Billings hopes to have a better idea of where the country and state stand with the outbreak by then.
“I hope and pray that these (events) will continue and be a part of our lives as we get into the summer and fall seasons,” Billings said.
Mason County Tourism Director Denny Bellamy said the American Countess has two trips to Point Pleasant scheduled in June, but he has been unable to get in contact with the American Steamboat Company about how they are handling the event schedule due to the virus.
Bellamy said that some surveys show that when travel restrictions are lifted, small towns might be a popular destination among Americans.
“The real question is do we want 10,000 (people) in our town this fall at once — from virus infected cities,” Bellamy said in an email to the Register. Bellamy said it is fortunate that they have all summer for events and if things get back to normal by June, there would be a chance for events from July 4 to be held on schedule.
Bellamy said this time at home is a chance to watch the television shows that were previously recorded in Point Pleasant. Bellamy said Mothman podcasts and shows can be found online and many shows are playing on the Travel Channel.
Bellamy said the tourism office will still publish the 2020 Mason County Visitors Guide and they will continue to promote Mason County. Bellamy is also continuing work on mapping the quilt trail and the Lower Kanawha Bike and Water Trails.
“I want to see (events) happen just as they always have, because of the impact it has, not only on us as citizens, but our merchants and business that are affected by the loss of any event or festival,” Billings said.
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Kayla Hawthorne is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Reach her at (304) 675-1333, ext. 1992.