HALEYVILLE - Perhaps the biggest event in all of Winston County each year is being canceled for 2020.
The Haleyville 9-1-1 Festival - which was scheduled to take place June 5-6, was canceled by the festival committee Monday, April 13, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Long-time festival committee member and organizer Jade Bice took to the festival’s Facebook page to make the announcement.
“Our fundraising efforts were suspended a month ago out of respect for our local businesses and industries who were facing uncertain times. All the while, we all were in hopes this crisis would soon pass. Although we would like to think that the end of this pandemic is closer than when it began, we believe it would be irresponsible to continue under these circumstances,” Bice said.
Brandon Norris, who organizes and retains the performers for the Friday night concert portion of the festival each year, announced that the performers who were scheduled to take the stage this year - legendary country band Sawyer Brown, Resurrection: A Journey Tribute and the Georgia Thunderbolts - have all extended their contracts for next year, which hopefully means they will be willing to come for the 2021 festival.
“These bands have been most gracious in this time of uncertainty,” Norris posted on the festival’s Facebook page.
Bice took time in the Facebook post to remind everyone what the true meaning of the Haleyville 9-1-1 Festival is.
“Our Festival began about 25 years ago to celebrate the heritage of our town, remind and educate everyone that Haleyville is where the first 9-1-1 call was made,and honor the dedicated service of our local first responders,” Bice said.
Bice asked for everyone to continue to remember all members of law enforcement, firefighters and dispatchers as they serve on the front lines during the pandemic. He also offered his thoughts and prayers for the doctors, nurses and all the support personnel at Lakeland Community Hospital, as well as the staff at Haleyville Health Care, Rose Manor and Azalea Manor for the work they are doing to battle COVID-19.
Bice also thanked his fellow festival committee members Mandy Little, Natalie Boykin, Melinda Weaver, Kris Burleson, Norris, Aubrey Haynes and Michael Humphries for all of their hard work. He also thanked Haleyville Mayor Ken Sunseri and the Haleyville City Council for their support.
A much more in-depth story regarding the cancellation of the 2020 Haleyville 9-1-1- Festival will be in the April 22, edition of the Alabamian.
See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.