By SAMANTHA PIDDE
While Mount Carroll Mayfest 2020 plans are continuing, organizer Brandon Ballard is unsure if the annual festival will be held this Memorial Day weekend due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We are trying to wait until May 1 to make a decision based on what the State of Illinois will do, but there are some deadlines approaching and we are working with our vendors to see if they can wait until May 1," Ballard said Monday, April 13, in an email interview.
Ballard voiced concerns if people will be unable to gather in a large group in late May due to the pandemic. The Mayfest committee is looking into the possibility of holding the event during the Fourth of July weekend, potentially combining it with the Mount Carroll Fire Department's July 4 celebration, which falls on a Saturday this year.
"This might not be far enough out, though, so we are also looking at Labor Day Weekend," Ballard said.
He noted that another option would be to "scale back Mayfest significantly" to meet requirements for the state of Illinois’ crowd restrictions.
"We aren't exactly sure what that will look like, but please assure your readers if it is safe for our town to come together and gather and celebrate, we will do everything we can to make that happen," Ballard said.
Ballard expanded on some of the difficulties the committee is facing on scheduling Mayfest 2020. He said that at first, arts and craft vendor signups were steady but have completely stopped now. He added the beer vendors will need some sort of commitment soon if the festival is to move forward as planned.
Ballard said the bands have been "great to work with." Mayfest’s scheduled musical line-up this year includes Back Country Roads on Friday; Travelin’ Band (Credence Clearwater Revival) on Saturday; Blooze Brothers on Sunday. Mayfest also will see the return of the Carroll County Allstars, Shyster and John Zink.
According to Ballard, the Rock Island Economic Growth Corporation (GROWTH) has been great about the use of the Shimer Square campus. However, the committee needs to consider summer construction at the campus while looking at different scheduling dates.
Besides quarantine and social distancing, Ballard said one of the biggest obstacles Mayfest is facing is a pronounced decrease in fundraising and sponsorships, which he said are down by more than 80percent from last year.
"Unfortunately, we have not seen many donations coming in from our Spring fundraiser," said Ballard, adding, "Truthfully, if we have to postpone or cancel will depend on State of Illinois and our fundraising efforts. Even if we are allowed to meet in May or July, if we haven't raised at least what we raised last year, we may regrettably have to take another year off. Hopefully this is not the case, but times are tough for a lot of people."
Ballard said he plans to keep people aware of plans for Mayfest via the festival's Facebook page.
Mayfest donations can be made in the following ways:
•Checks made out to Mt. Carroll Mayfest sent to: Mt. Carroll Mayfest 601 E. Silk Mount Carroll IL 61053.
•Donations in cash or check can be made to Mt Carroll Mayfest at TBK Bank in downtown Mt. Carroll.
•If you are interested in donating time or goods to help make an amazing Mayfest 2020, please contact the Mayfest Steering Committee at email@example.com.
•If you are interested in sponsoring a specific part of Mayfest (a specific band you love, kids' zone activities, stage/sound, etc.), please email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss sponsorship.
•Arts and Craft Vendors can sign up at: https://mayfestvending.eventbrite.com
•5K Walk/Run participants can sign up at: https://mayfest5k.eventbrite.com.