Laramie Brewfest has been canceled for the first time in 15 years amid health and safety concerns brought on by the coronavirus, according to a Thursday news release.
The annual summertime event, which was originally scheduled to take place on July 11, was rescheduled to Sept. 26. But with numbers of coronavirus cases in Wyoming continuing to climb, it was determined the event could not go forward.
“It is with heavy hearts, and the care and concern of our community, that we announce the cancelation of Downtown Laramie Brewfest 2020,” a Laramie Main Street Alliance news release says. “In light of current conditions and future unknowns, we do not feel that we can host this event safely.”
For the past 15 years, Brewfest has hosted more than 2,000 participants sampling beers, listening to live music and connecting with local vendors. The event was the biggest fundraiser for Laramie Main Street Alliance and will inevitably carry financial ramifications for the downtown businesses as well.
“It’s a fundraiser for Main Street and it makes up over 50% of our budget so that’s terrifying but the safety of our community is more important.” Trey Sherwood, Laramie Main Street Alliance director, told the Boomerang.
Along with this being the event’s 15th year, October will be the 15 year anniversary of Laramie Main Street, a community nonprofit dedicated to the revitalization of Laramie’s downtown.
Since this event is usually the biggest fundraiser for Laramie Main Street, the nonprofit is encouraging community members to participate in a 15-year anniversary crowdfunding campaign that will take place this fall.
“With that 15 year theme, we’re going to challenge individuals to contribute $15 dollars,” Sherwood said. “We’ve got some businesses that would usually sponsor brewfest lined up to do a cash match so the idea that like, ‘Hey, on this day if you give money, this business is going to match it and it’s going to double your impact.’”
Additionally, Laramie Main Street is pivoting to put on a smaller, more intimate “Oktoberfest” themed event focused on celebrating the accomplishments of breweries downtown later this fall.
“It will be smaller scale, it will probably be within the breweries themselves,” Sherwood said.
Despite the cancellation, Sherwood urged community members to continue supporting small businesses throughout Laramie.
“We’re just as heartbroken as the participants,” she said. “We hope people respond in a way that is sympathetic but also people will double down their resolve to support our businesses downtown.”