For the first time in four decades, the annual KeizerFEST has been postponed and the irises that are typically a focal point of the festivities will be long out of bloom when it returns.
Concerns about the spread of COVID-19 prompted the Keizer Chamber of Commerce, the organizer of the festival, to delay the celebration of all things Keizer. The new dates for the festival that includes a parade, live music and a carnival are Aug. 13 to 16.
“After much uncertainty of how to fund the festival due to major economic impacts seen by much of the festivals annual sponsors … the Keizer Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors voted to postpone the annual event,” said Danielle Bethell, executive director of the Keizer Chamber of Commerce.
KeizerFEST typically falls on the third weekend in May.
Despite the disruption, Bethell said chamber members are looking for ways to seize new opportunities created by the delay.
“We predict a different look and sound to the annual parade, knowing area schools will not be in session we will have to be creative with recruiting marching bands and float entries,” she said. “But, with the effort and passion of our community volunteers, we are certain we can put on an event we all will enjoy and be proud of.”
The 2020 them iris is Stairway to Heaven and the festival theme is Dancin’ In the Streets. The current Celebration of Flowers competition will continue in May as well as the annual Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast on May 7. The chamber is collaborating with local religious leaders on a way to hold the prayer breakfast in a socially distanced fashion.