PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI/AP) — Due to the rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, Providence’s downtown arts festival has been canceled for the second year in a row.
PVDFest, which usually attracts hundreds of thousands of people to the city, was scheduled to make its comeback Sept. 25 and 26, but Mayor Jorge Elorza said it would be unsafe to continue amid high levels of coronavirus transmission.
“I am sorry to announce that after carefully considering the increased spread of the delta variant, we will forego this year’s downtown PVDFest gathering,” Elorza said. “I want to take this opportunity to thank our artists, sponsors, and partners who have made PVDFest Happenings a resounding success so far, and encourage all unvaccinated residents to get their vaccine. Together we can beat this virus and return to dancing and celebrating together downtown next year.”
Smaller outdoor art programs affiliated with the festival will continue in the coming weeks, though face masks will be strongly recommended.
“While we must cancel this year’s signature weekend, we remain more committed than ever to bringing joy to public spaces through the art,” Providence Director of Art, Culture and Tourism Stephanie Fortunato said. “Our vision is for all residents and visitors to feel a continuous relationship to arts practice, making, and culture year-round. The spirit of PVDFest can be found every day, in every neighborhood, and we look forward to bringing the full festival back next year.”
Last year, PVD Fest was postponed indefinitely due to the pandemic.