Wyoming Peach Festival latest event to be canceled amid COVID-19 pandemic

DOVER — Everything had been just peachy for the town of Wyoming’s Peach Festival the past 29 years.

But this year, just like with so many other events in the era of COVID-19, the 2020 edition of the Wyoming Peach Festival was canceled after two departments from the state rejected the Peach Festival committee’s proposal to host the event on Aug. 1 due to concerns with the potential spread of coronavirus.

The Delaware Division of Public Health and the Delaware Division of Small Business conducted a joint review and determined the event would be too large to keep all its attendees safe. The state requires that any event with an anticipated crowd larger than 250 people needs approval.

“Given the number of attendees, it was determined that it would be extremely difficult to put in the types of controls needed to make it a safe environment,” said Michael Chesney, director of communications for the Delaware Division of Small Business.

Wyoming Mayor Steve Bilbrough wasn’t thrilled with the state’s decision to cancel the festival but said the town will move on and concentrate on hosting the 2021 return of the event.

“Really, it is disappointing,” Mayor Bilbrough said. “I feel like if the governor’s office is allowing the (Delaware) State Fair to happen, then there’s no reason that our town couldn’t host our annual event.

“But I’m not going to dwell on it. We’ll just move forward and hope we can make a comeback for next year.”

Jaci Stokes, co-chair of the Wyoming Peach Festival along with Donna Mason, were saddened to see the milestone 30th year for the event get canceled.

“It was very disappointing as this would have been our 30th year,” Ms. Stokes said. “It has always been held rain or shine – and we have had more shine than rain.”

Ms. Mason is hoping the annual event will come back stronger than ever in 2021.

“We are looking forward to everything getting back to normal,” she said. “The planning to accommodate the crowds with all the social distancing was very stressful as we open the town for this event. “

The Peach Festival is the biggest event that takes places in Wyoming each year. It usually features a parade, crafters, live entertainment, vendors, food, community display, political displays, a children’s area and the always enticing Peach Dessert contest.

Proceeds from the Peach Festival regularly pay for the Wyoming’s monthly delivery of its newsletter.

Over the years, some of the other items the proceeds from the festival have purchased are flag poles for the corner of Camden Wyoming Avenue and Railroad Avenue and the Wyoming Park, landscaping of Stokes Square, a sound system for use by the town and the Peach Festival, plantings at the Wyoming Park, a new server for Town Hall’s computers, and other town improvements.

Doug Denison, the vice mayor for Wyoming, wasn’t surprised at the decision to cancel the event.

“I can’t say I’m surprised that the Peach Festival wasn’t able to take place this year, but I definitely think everyone is disappointed,” Mr. Denison said. “Our Peach Festival committee puts in a huge amount of work every year to put on a great event, and they deserve all the credit in the world for trying to make it happen this year. I’m looking forward to a big comeback next summer.”