BY JOHN E. USALIS

SHENANDOAH — The many fans of the annual Kielbasi Festival will need to wait another year to enjoy the celebration of the Eastern European delicacy with the cancelation of this year’s event.

The news was first announced Wednesday by its sponsor, Downtown Shenandoah Inc., on Facebook. This year’s 13th annual festival had been moved from its original date of May 16 due to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions to Sept. 5, which was expected to be a safer time if restrictions were continuing to be lifted.

The cancellation of the festival also means that the 22nd annual Heritage Day is also canceled. Originally planned for Aug. 22, DSI planned to incorporate Heritage Day with Kielbasi Festival since the Sept. 5 date was close to the original Heritage Day date.

The Kielbasi Festival is expected to return on May 22, 2021.

DSI Executive Director and Main Street Manager Mary Luscavage said the limitation of 250 on crowd size led to the decision to cancel for this year.

“We canceled it yesterday during a meeting,” Luscavage said Wednesday. “The opinion was that it’s just not feasible. We think the best thing to do is to follow the state guidelines, which they call for no more than 250 people to gather at one time. It really was a difficult decision, but it was really a no-brainer in the end. I feel relieved because I would really feel bad if someone got sick at one of our events. It’s not the right time.”

The Kielbasi Festival has grown each year in attendance and brings in much more than 250 people.

“The festival brings in thousands, and last year it was about 5,000, which made it the best one as far as people,” Luscavage said.

Even though two major events have been canceled, another DSI-sponsored event — the annual Kielbasy Pierogie Golf Open — is still on at its new date of Oct. 2 at Mountain Valley Golf Course.

“We will have the golf tournament unless we’re back in the red,” Luscvage said.

Information on the golf tourney is available by calling the DSI office at 570-462-2060.

Contact the writer: jusalis@republicanherald.com; 570-628-6023