- Associated Press - Saturday, April 17, 2021

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) - Indiana’s second-largest city is bringing back a popular summer festival canceled last year by the pandemic, although this year’s festivities won’t include a parade.

Organizers of Fort Wayne’s Three Rivers Festival said the festival’s other events will go forward during its July 9-17 run and will be spread out for social distancing, The Journal Gazette reported.

But John Nichter, president of the festival board, said the festival’s parade was canceled for a second straight year because it posed a bigger challenge with more than 50,000 people attending annually.

“While we are disappointed that we cannot hold the parade this summer, we are thankful that increasing vaccination rates are leading to the return of events around Fort Wayne, including the Three Rivers Festival,” festival organizers said in a statement.

Mayor Tom Henry said he supported canceling the parade. He met recently with members of the Allen County Department of Health and festival officials to discuss the challenges of conducting a parade with COVID-19 still prevalent.

“We recognize that this is disappointing news for our community, but we have to ensure that our community is as safe as possible,” Henry said in a statement.

The mayor said the city is working with all local festivals and event organizers to help ensure they can have safe gatherings this year.

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