VicksburgFest organizers made hard but necessary decision

Published 11:19 am Thursday, February 13, 2020

When VicksburgFest organizers announced there would be no event in 2020, we joined those in the community who were disappointed about missing the event this year and the potential of the 2019 festival being its last.

Community residents poured their dismay on social media, citing fond memories at the event, the family-friendly atmosphere it provided and the years when the event lasted for three days instead of two. Others questioned why businesses in town had not stepped up to support it.

The event had a longstanding tradition in the community. For 31 years, Riverfest had a home in Vicksburg, bringing music and entertainment downtown. In 2019, Riverfest became Vicksburgfest.

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VicksburgFest President Dean Anderson cited the need to “take a step back to reevaluate the event” as the reason for not holding it this year.

We respect the VicksburgFest organizers for making a difficult but necessary decision. And we commend Anderson and her team for the wise and reasonable logic behind canceling the 2020 event.

Anderson’s announcement came a couple of days before Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs Jr., who also applauded the Vicksburgfest board for holding off on this year’s event, shared that the city had spent $177,000 on the annual downtown event, but VicksburgFest never made any money.

That figure includes $84,000 the city spent on the event just in 2018. According to Flaggs, that was the most successful year for Vicksburgfest and even it did not turn a profit.

Anderson and the board’s decision to reevaluate the event is smart for many reasons. It is fiscally conservative, and as she stated last week, gives the community room “to support other volunteer-led events that impact the economy of our city like Vicksburg Second Saturday.”