Welp, so much for having an eventful fall. Addison has officially canceled Oktoberfest 2020, scheduled for September 17-20, due to the COVID-19 crisis. The weekend-long event typically draws nearly 50,000 guests, standing as one of the largest Oktoberfest celebrations in Texas. That, obviously, makes it an enormous risk.
Now, as the pandemic rages on through the summer, it’s unclear when any gatherings of significant size will be able to safely occur again. Addison Oktoberfest is one of many major fall events to play it safe and cancel early, following the likes of Munich’s Oktoberfest, Austin City Limits, the State Fair of Texas, and Coachella. The community spread of the virus is so significant that, in Dallas County, it is 99 percent likely that one person among a group of 100 would test positive for the virus, according to a new tool from Georgia Tech.
The people behind Addison Oktoberfest made the call out of concern for the health of attendees, volunteers, staff, and the surrounding community. The beer and live music-centric event is simply not conducive to social distancing.
“Addison Oktoberfest is a beloved event where tens of thousands of people look forward to gathering each year in dirndls and lederhosen to enjoy each other’s company, raise a bier and say Prost,” read a statement from Addison Special Events Director Jasmine Lee. “Due to the close contact caused by the inherently social nature of the festival, it would not be safe to hold such a large gathering this year.”
Lee assures Oktoberfest lovers that the festival will return next year, and is slated to open on September 16, 2021.
The cancellation seems to give further confirmation to a sad reality the entertainment industry is facing: It’s no longer a question of whether large scale events will return in 2020, it’s a question of whether they’ll return in 2021.