Annual Forsythia Festival postponed due to COVID-19 crisis

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City council will decide on April 5th whether to proceed with the festival.

FORSYTH, Ga. — Around this time every year, the City of Forsyth starts preparing the downtown for their annual Forsythia Festival.    

Last year, people didn’t get a chance to enjoy the festival due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and this year, that might happen again.

“I’m just really concerned about the economy on both sides for the merchants and the vendors, you know? And the people who are just wanting to get out and do something fun,” Coni Merritt says.

Merritt has attended the Forsythia Festival on and off for the last 20 years, her and her husband even sold pottery one year. 

Merritt says that many people in Forsyth depend on the festival as a source of extra income. 

“We just need to get back to whatever normal is going to be. If you don’t feel like you should go, then stay home,” Merritt said.

Councilman John Howard says it’s not that simple. 

“Like I said in the meeting, I can’t, with a clear conscience, vote to have a festival where we’re going to have to put our city employees out on the streets and have them be involved in this festival.” Howard said.

This would include the police department, street and sanitation, and people from the electrical department.

“We already have staff members out battling COVID right now and I just couldn’t see us putting more employees at risk,” Howard said.

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He asks people in Forsyth to be patient with city council because this was not an easy decision. 

“It’s just not a good time. We’re not saying that the chamber can’t have the Forsythia. We’re just saying that we don’t feel like it’s safe to have it this soon,” Howard said.

City council will decide on April 5th whether to proceed with the festival.



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