UPDATE: LaSalle cancels 2021 summer festivals

The annual LaSalle Strawberry Festival, June 11, 2015. (Photo by Jason Viau)

LaSalle Town Council has accepted a recommendation to cancel both the Strawberry Festival and the Last Call Before Fall Festival again this year.

Councillors voted unanimously Tuesday night to cancel both events, due to the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

Instead, the town will plan a series of modified LaSalle Night Markets, along with several other smaller events.

“We are looking through the framework and the restrictions, and markets is one of the areas where the restrictions are a little bit different, so we think we will be able to host some of those smaller types of events,” said LaSalle Director of Culture and Recreation Patti Funaro.

The town’s Strawberry Festival typically kicks off the festival and event season each summer, but it was called off last year because of the pandemic.┬áThe recommendation presented to councillors suggested it may still be too early to go ahead with large-scale gatherings.

“A great deal of time is required to plan these events and planning would need to already be underway in order to ensure the success of these events,” read the report.

Last year’s Strawberry Festival was cancelled in April, just weeks before it was set to go in June. At the time, Mayor Marc Bondy called it an agonizing decision.

LaSalle’s Culture and Recreation Department attempted to introduce the inaugural Last Call Before Fall festival last September. It was intended to be an enhancement for the LaSalle Craft Beer Festival, but that too fell victim to COVID-19 protocols.

The Town of Tecumseh has already cancelled its annual Corn Festival and Kingsville’s Highland Games will have to wait another year.

Organizers of the 2021 edition Art in the Park in Windsor remain optimistic that the event in Willistead Park will be allowed to go ahead in June. They said if they have to cancel, they will do so by May 15.

—with files from Mark Brown