For the first time in 21 years, the St. Susanna Festival has been cancelled due to COVID-19.
“We had a plan for June, and then we initially pushed back to Aug. 27-29,” festival chair Yolanda Means said. “But, ultimately, we had to cancel. There were just a lot of reasons. We kept asking ourselves how can we have an event that engages the community in a responsible way and still meet the end purpose, which is a fundraiser.”
Means said that the protocols the board imagined might work meant more volunteers.
“But that also presented a significant challenge because people are wary and not wanting to commit right now,” she said.
In an effort to still raise some funds, Means said they are still holding their raffle.
“We always close out our festival with a grand prize drawing,” she said. “Over the years it’s gone from cash prizes to cars. This year our prize will be a $10,000 raffle. We started selling tickets last weekend. Hopefully, with the raffle we’ll be able to earn some funds. We intent to spend our earnings this year on upgrading our playground equipment for the school and also our technology equipment for the school and church. We’re kind of working with an antiquated system right now. As of now, to be impactful in the community, we’ve got to have a better way of communicating. Building on our IT infrastructure is going to be a point of focus for us.”
Means said that she’ll really miss the engagement with the community.
“So many people all over Hendricks County and beyond come out to the festival,” she said. “There’s rides and music and games and food, and it’s a great community event. It’s everyone coming together to have fun.”
Means isn’t the only one in her family disappointed by the cancellation.
“I have an eleven-year-old,” she said. “He’s super bummed. He’s finally at the age where he can get a wristband ad run and meet with his school friends and ride rides, the fact that it’s not going to happen this year is just a bummer.”
Means said that anyone interested in raffle tickets can email Festival@saintsusanna.com.
“Tickets must be purchased by cash or check,” she said. “People can buy tickets at church on weekends after masses, or I can get them to whoever would like to purchase any.”
Raffle tickets are $20 or three for $50.
“I’m really hoping that next year we can put on the best festival ever,” Means said. “We certainly have plenty of time to prepare.”