The 2020 Leesburg Bikefest has officially been canceled due to coronavirus (COVID-19) safety concerns.
The Statement From Leesburg Bikefest
Officials for the event made the announcement on Friday (September 18). The event was originally scheduled to take place on April 24 through 26 before it was postponed to November 13-15. This year’s event has now been canceled altogether.
“We needed the governor to move the state into Level 3 COVID-19 status before we could move forward with hosting an event of this magnitude,” said Joe Shipes, CEO of the Leesburg Partnership told a local news station. “Our efforts moving forward will focus on the Spring Leesburg Bikefest April 23-25, 2021.”
Shipes revealed that their crowds range from 200,000 to 300,000 people annually. They have not had to cancel a Bikefest since its inception in 1997.
What is the Bikefest?
The three-day gathering takes place in Leesburg and spans over 20 blocks. The event helps support local businesses in the town and neighboring cities.
“That’s one of their biggest weekends of the year is Leesburg Bikefest,” Shipes added. “In the 24 years that we’ve been doing this event, I believe we’re at $1 billion in economic impact.” The event takes six months to a year to plan and even if Governor DeSantis announced a phase three reopening, they could not put it all together in time.
Even if Gov. DeSantis announces a phase three reopening within the next few weeks, they’d still have to cancel the event. “We had already done a lot of the leg work for the previous event in April,” Shipes continued. “To tell us that we could do the event a month out just doesn’t give us the time.”
The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally
A similar event, the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota was still held in August amid the pandemic. The event drew in over 500,000 attendees in ten days. According to an early report just weeks after the event was held, over 290 cases were directly linked to the event.
A study was done that linked 260,000 across the country. It allegedly cost over $12.2 billion in public health costs. John Hopkins researchers challenged the researchers’ findings and said it should be interpreted cautiously.