SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE, Va. (WFXR) — Due to coronavirus concerns, officials with the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce (SMLRCC) decided to cancel September’s 32nd annual Smith Mountain Lake Wine Festival.
According to a news release from the SMLRCC on Thursday, Aug. 6, the decision to cancel the festival — which was scheduled for Sept. 26-27 at Mariners Landing — was based on the uncertainty surrounding state regulations, as well as the ability to abide by current requirements for social gatherings amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We sincerely held out as long as possible before making a final decision but after several months of reviewing any and all possible scenarios, there truly were no sufficient options to ensure both a safe and quality event,” stated Christopher Finley, executive director. “It’s heartbreaking because this is our biggest annual event to showcase Smith Mountain Lake and support the local economy but the safety of our attendees, residents, staff, vendors and volunteers remains our top priority.”
Officials say the proceeds from this annual festival benefit the SMLRCC, which is not eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program through the CARES Act and therefore funded entirely by membership dues, sponsorships, and events.
“Funds from the Smith Mountain Lake Wine Festival support our efforts to sustain operations, continue community programs and provide services to our members, promote tourism, and manage the Smith Mountain Lake Visitor Center,” said Finley. “These are challenging and uncertain times but, in the end, we chose to put people’s safety over our needs right now.”
However, according to officials, plans are already in motion to bring the festival back Sept. 25-26, 2021.