For the first time in more than 30 years, the state's largest beer festival has been called off.
The Oregon Brewers Festival, always held the last full weekend in July, will not go forward as scheduled.
"At the onset of the COVID-19 virus, we were hopeful that the situation might solve itself by late July," co-founder Art Larrance said in a press release. "But the health and safety of our guests, vendors, staff and volunteers is our top priority, and we have decided the risk of holding the festival is too great."
OBF started in 1988 after Larrance—the founder of Cascade Brewing, who sold the brewery in April—attended Oktoberfest in Munich. That inspired him to re-create a tiny slice of drunken Bavaria in Portland.
In its first year, there were only six breweries in Oregon, but OBF grew into one of the nation's longest-running beer festivals, drawing hundreds of participating businesses and tens of thousands of visitors to Waterfront Park every year.
Larrance says he and other organizers will use this downtime to plan how they will hold a successful beer festival next year in what is, hopefully, a post-pandemic world.
In the meantime, he's encouraging beer lovers who would normally have attended OBF to support local craft breweries and cider makers with pickup or delivery orders. Some industry analysts estimate up to 46 percent of those businesses may be forced to close permanently because of the pandemic.
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This is just the latest in what's becoming a growing list of summer gatherings that are getting axed due to the global health crisis, which promises to leave normally packed parks and arenas across Oregon empty.
The Waterfront Blues Fest, the Vancouver Fireworks Spectacular at the Fort Vancouver Historical Site, the Portland Craft Beer Festival and the St. Paul Rodeo, all scheduled for July, have also been canceled.