People will have to party with their state’s trademarked sweet onions another year. 

Like so many other industry conferences, trade shows and events that draw large groups, the April 23-26 Vidalia Onion Festival was canceled to keep the public from spreading the new coronavirus COVID-19.

The Vidalia Onion Festival Committee and the City of Vidalia announced the cancelation on

“The health and well-being of our citizens and visitors is of the utmost importance to us,” according to the online statement. 

“We must heed the advice of our national and state elected officials and the CDC to safeguard against the situation as much as possible.”

The festival usually begins with the Miss Vidalia Onion Pageant, the Vidalia Onion Culinary Extravaganza and the carnival, according to the Explore Georgia tourism website. 

There’s a children’s parade and a Movie Under the Stars on Thursday evening downtown. Friday features sidewalk sales in the downtown historic district during the day and the official opening ceremonies, street dance and fireworks Friday night.

On Saturday, racers sweat it out at the Kiwanis Onion Run, and then people wander the arts and crafts festival with the onion eating contest, onion recipe contest and public tasting, carnival, and concert headliner.

The festival was scheduled to coincide with the beginning of the harvest. Vidalia onions have a short season, with supplies that typically last through the end of August only, according to the announcement.

And you can’t have a festival when the namesake food is unavailable.

“Much thought went into whether we could reschedule, but a multi-event festival like this makes it impossible to find a date that would be feasible for the majority of the events,” the website said.

Generation Farms, Vidalia, Ga., and McLain Farms, Lyons, Ga., both Vidalia grower-packer-shippers, were sponsors of the event. 

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