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New coronavirus surge cancels Lake Geneva's Venetian Festival
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New coronavirus surge cancels Lake Geneva's Venetian Festival

Venetian Fest - 13

Tracy Loland, of Evanston, Illinois, joins the fun on the bumper cars last year during the Lake Geneva Jaycees Venetian Festival in downtown Lake Geneva. 

Organizers of Lake Geneva's Venetian Festival have had a change of heart and canceled this year's event because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Lake Geneva Jaycees, sponsors of the annual lakefront festival, today announced that the event will not be held as scheduled Aug. 19-23.

It would have been the 58th annual festival that fills downtown Lake Geneva each summer with music, food, carnival rides and more.

Citing a new surge in coroanvirus cases locally and nationally, organizers today said they are cancelling Venetian Fest for 2020 and instead holding a blood drive to promote health and wellness during the coronavirus pandemic.

'We take our leadership role within the community seriously," the Jaycees said in a statement. "And it would be irresponsible to put the health of the community at risk for a festival."

Just a few weeks ago, organizers announced that they were moving forward with plans for the summertime event — depending what happened with the ongoing public health crisis.

In today's announcement, the Jaycees said they changed their minds after seeing a recent surge in reported cases of the virus, as well as many local businesses temporarily shutting down.

Walworth County health officials recently reported that 200 new cases of the virus, also known as COVID-19, had been confirmed locally in the past two weeks.

Jaycees officials noted how difficult and painful it is to cancel a festival that is so popular and generates so much money for charitable causes. But, the group added: "The organization has been moved to believe the way to serve our community is to not contribute to the spread of the virus."

The blood drive is planned July 30 at the American Legion post in Lake Geneva.

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