The Warsaw Fire Department announced Friday night that is has canceled its annual carnival for the first time in its more than 60-year history. The carnival had already been rescheduled to end of summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The department’s carnival committee, in a Facebook post, cited several factors in making its decision to cancel.
“With upcoming deadlines with acquiring liquor and food permits, we feel that we will not be able to obtain these permits to allow us to safely follow the social distancing guidelines, sanitizing guidelines, and the extra manpower that would be required to do all of this. It would be nearly impossible for us to keep in compliance,” the post said.
The carnival, which typically takes place during several days around the Fourth of July, is the department’s biggest annually fundraiser. The department had initially rescheduled the carnival for Labor Day weekend.
“With many months of planning and rescheduling this event, in hopes that we could have it, it was decided that the event could not commence this year due to the uncertainties with the current COVID-19 pandemic,” the department said.
The department said it considered doing just a parade with a carnival, but said the financial impact of coming up with prize money and trophies for the parade and having the community maintain safe social distancing along the parade route, would have a negative financial effect.
Fireworks were along consider, but since the display relies on donations from area businesses and those business have been struggling “we feel that it would be in the best interest to not ask for donations at this time,” the department said.
It was also noted the difficulty to comply with social distancing guidelines and group-size limits at the park for the fireworks show.
“We know this event means so much to everyone, as it does to us as well,” the post continued. “We are extremely saddened that it had to come to this point as this is our biggest fundraiser that we do each year. For the safety and health of our workers, the community, our volunteers, and the vendors, there is no other choice to be made as the health and safety needs to be the -1 priority.”
The department hopes to return in 2021 “for a bigger and better carnival.”