The Matthews announces postponement of 43rd Festival in the Park until July 2021

May 12, 2020
Image: The Black Hills Studios

The Matthews Opera House and Arts Center is announcing that the 43rd Festival in the Park is being postponed to July 2021. This call was made by the Matthews staff and board members after much deliberation on the impact the COVID-19 pandemic would have on this year’s event. 

“This was an excruciating call and not one that any of us wanted to make,” said Darren Granaas, executive director at the Matthews Opera House. “However, after many difficult discussions, we know that this is the best choice to ensure public safety and be respectful to all current and future health regulations put in place by local, state, or federal entities.”

Festival in the Park is an annual arts festival that brings arts, crafts, and food vendors to Spearfish from around the country. Usually attended by over 25,000 people, it is one of the largest outdoor arts and music festivals in the upper Midwest. This year would have marked the 43rd event of its kind.

“There is obviously a lot to consider when making a decision of this magnitude,” explained Kyler Flock, Festival in the Park Coordinator. “This festival generates a lot of revenue for our 200 plus vendors that attend annually, and it breaks our heart to not be able to offer this platform to promote their craft and small businesses. However, we also know that the health and safety of our vendors, attendees, volunteers, community, and staff has to be our first priority.”

“We wanted to make this call now so that our vendors had adequate notice to change their plans. Waiting too long would have made the cancellation process even more burdensome on out-of-town vendors who had planned to spend that weekend here,” Flock continued. 

The cancellation of Festival will also have a large impact on the Matthews Opera House organization as over 25% of their annual operating budget is generated from this event.

“This is a hard hit to us financially, there’s no doubt about that,” Granaas said. “We are going to have to come up with creative ways to find that money somewhere else, which is only complicated even more by our inability to hold live events in our theater. However, we have some incredible donors that have been so supportive of our organization over the last few weeks and we are putting a lot of effort into looking into any and all grant opportunities. We have faith that with the help of our community and outside resources, the Matthews can weather this storm.”

“The legacy of Festival in the Park is one we are proud to carry as an organization,” Flock added. “Not having Festival this year is obviously a huge disappointment, but we are already looking forward to 2021 and are excited to make the eventual 43rd Festival in the Park one of our best yet!”

If you have any questions regarding Festival in the Park, please contact the Matthews Opera House by calling 605.642.7973 or email [email protected]

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