Oak Park cancels all public events

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By Stacey Sheridan

Staff Reporter

Oak Park Public Health Director Mike Charley issued an order April 24 canceling all public events, due to COVID-19 concerns. The order extends through the month of June and includes sidewalk sales, sporting events and theatrical productions. 

Among the cancelations is the annual village-sponsored community festival "A Day in Our Village," which was scheduled to take place June 7 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

"I know these events are part of the character of the community and important to our local economy but reducing the chances of spreading COVID-19 is critical to protecting the health of citizens," Charley said in a village news release. "Only by limiting social contact can we hope to control this highly contagious virus."

First held in 1973, the "Day in Our Village" festival celebrates diversity and community involvement in Oak Park. 2020 would have been the festival's 47th year.

Oak Park Community Relations Director Cedric Melton, whose department coordinates the festival's volunteers, expressed his sadness over the cancelation in the village's release.

 "Words can't express how sad it makes us to have to cancel this one-of-a-kind gathering," said Melton per the news release. 

The village suspended the recruitment of volunteers and participants earlier in April.

"Given the risks of holding such a large gathering in the midst of a worldwide pandemic, there is no question that it is in the best interest of the community to take a year off and hope for better times ahead," Melton said in the release.

The festival has only been canceled once before, in 1975 due to a shortage of volunteers.

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