Nixed festivals will have to wait until next year

ASHEBORO — Two major festivals in Randolph County were called off last weekend because of weather concerns related to the impact from Hurricane Ian.

The Fall Festival in Asheboro and NASCAR Day Festival in Randleman were wiped off the schedule.

The Randolph Arts Guild, which manages the event in Asheboro, announced the decision to nix the event. “for the safety of our vendors, entertainers, attendees, sponsors, and downtown merchants,” according to a statement from the guild.

The group cited an executive order from Gov. Roy Cooper, who declared a state of emergency on Wednesday as the path of Hurricane Ian put much of central and eastern North Carolina in line for several days of rain. The state of emergency didn’t prohibit outdoor events.

“The Randolph Arts Guild Board knows that this cancellation does not come without consequence,” the guild’s statement said. “The Fall Festival is an essential economic driver for local non-profits, community groups, small businesses, and vendors. We understand the disappointment that this may bring.”

Vendor refunds for registration fees will be issued no later than Nov. 1, according to the guild.

This marked the third year in a row that the Fall Festival didn’t take place. For the past two years, it was called off because of the pandemic. The first Fall Festival was held in 1972.

Up to 60,000 people have attended the two-day event in some years. Normally, crowds exceed 40,000.

In Randleman, NASCAR Day Festival was canceled for similar reasons last weekend.

Jeff Reeman, who’s director of the festival and executive director of the Randleman Chamber of Commerce, said it’s not practical to find another date.

“It’s hard to reschedule,” he said. “A lot of vendors go to multiple shows in the fall, and they have their dates filled.”

Other factors also make it a challenge to reschedule are available policing agencies and approval for street closures.

NASCAR Day Festival was held in 2021 after it was canceled in 2020 because of the pandemic.

Freeman said the Randleman Chamber of Commerce is organizing a downtown candlelight Christmas event. It will have some of the same components from the NASCAR Day Festival but will not nearly be the size of the event slated for last weekend.

The 2022 Asheboro Fall Festival was cancelled on Thursday, Sept. 29.