The city of Granite Shoals has canceled GraniteFest due to COVID-19 concerns and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation to limit gatherings to 50 people or less.
“Every stitch of it is canceled,” City Manager Jeff Looney said. “It’s really sad. We were going to have a bangup time. We have to think of what’s best for everybody. Keeping everybody safe and happy is the most important thing.”
The free community festival was scheduled for March 27-28.
Looney said the decision to cancel GraniteFest came after much deliberation among city leaders.
Looney, Mayor Carl Brugger, and Mayor Pro Tem Jim Davant spent the weekend watching news coverage. They noted that President Donald Trump said he preferred people not gather in groups larger than 10. Then, on March 16, Burnet County Health Authority Dr. Jules Madrigal and Llano County Health Authority Dr. Jack Franklin emphasized limiting gatherings to 50 people.
So city officials decided to pull the plug on the upcoming GraniteFest.
Though the city announced it was returning sponsorship money, not all sponsors have taken it.
“Some of our sponsors told us to to keep the money for next year,” Looney said. “They have faith in us we’ll do it again. That’s really nice. We won’t be out of a lot of expenses for what we’ve done.”
He noted one band returned the money they were going to be paid to perform, another has yet to respond to a message left for them, and the city had not yet paid a third.
The Chili Appreciation Society International’s men’s chili cook-off, which was going to draw 150 teams to GraniteFest, also has been postponed, organizer Craig Schlicke said.
The city is open to offering CASI Quarry Park as its site for the event if the recommended 50-people limit for gatherings changes, Looney said.
Looney is not optimistic that GraniteFest will be rescheduled for later this year.
“We’re going to leave that open, to be determined,” he said. “My guess is we won’t be able to do it until next year. Trying to squeeze in a date is going to be difficult. We’ll do it if we can see a weekend where we have enough time to do it. Chances are, it won’t happen (this year).”