Hugely Popular Chatham Maritime Food and Drink Festival, featuring the Sunlight Rotary Dragon Boat Race, is latest victim of Covid-19.
The festival, which has become a firm favourite in the areas’ social calendar with thousands of people attending from Medway and further afield, normally takes place over the late May bank holiday weekend. It was provisionally postponed until September but has now been officially cancelled for this year.
Dean Marsh of Chatham Maritime Trust who organises the event said “We have been monitoring developments closely ever since the lockdown and it has now become clear that with ongoing social restrictions, the health concerns of organisers, traders and visitors and the risks associated with large gatherings, it was going to be impossible to organise, prepare for, and run the event this year.
We are desperately disappointed to have to take this decision and we are acutely aware of the impact it will have on the traders, the fundraising efforts of Medway Sunlight Rotary and on our visitors who every year support the event so enthusiastically. That is why we are doubly determined to make next year’s event bigger and better than ever.”
One of the highlights of the festival is the Dragon Boat race organized by Medway Sunlight Rotary Club. Bill Parkinson, of the club said “we are obviously disappointed not to be able to share the Dragon Boat Challenge experience with so many people who enjoy taking part or watching this colourful and exciting event. The race has raised more than £60,000 over the last 6 years to support the many organisations in our community and abroad that we help, and the coming year will be challenging without that income.”
Victoria Hazell of Umbrella Events who delivers the event was disappointed but is bullish about the prospects for next year. “We are so sorry to be missing our amazing Chatham friends this year, our traders and suppliers, but the safety and well-being of you all is paramount. We will be working on planning an amazing 2021 event. We can’t wait to see you all then. “
Dean Marsh added “Planning is already underway to make 2021 an amazing event and we’ll keep people updated on social media as we have more information to share, but for now keep 29-31 May 2021 free for what will be a fantastic weekend at Chatham Maritime.”