City of Newport withdraws from Riverfest 2020

City of Newport won't participate in Riverfest 2020

NEWPORT, Ky. (FOX19) - The City of Newport will not participate in Riverfest 2020.

The announcement was made via Facebook post on the City of Newport’s page Wednesday evening.

“The COVID-19 Outbreak has caused a number of notable events in the City to be cancelled,” the post reads. “Based on current restrictions and other logistical issues the City has decided not to participate in Riverfest 2020 and will not issue any associated City permits or licenses.”

The end-of-summer event, officially the Western & Southern/WEBN Fireworks, is one of the hallmarks of the region.

It primarily takes place at Sawyer Point and Yeatman’s Cove on the Ohio side of the river, but Newport hosts its share of attractions and viewing spots.

“We’re not going to have anything. We’re not going to have any booths that will offer food or drink. We’re not going to have anything for the kids. We’re not even going to participate in the event,” Newport Mayor Jerry Peluso said.

The promotions director with WEBN says meetings were held Thursday with the Coast Guard and Rozzi’s Fireworks but says, “At this time, we cannot comment on the state of Riverfest 2020. We will be releasing a statement in the coming weeks once a plan is secured for the event.”

Newport’s mayor says the city’s decision not to take part is final.

“It’s not what I want to do, it’s not what someone else wants to do. It’s what we have to do. We’re going through some challenging and difficult times but again public health and safety is paramount. It’s our number one priority,” Peluso said.

The mayor says he does not encourage people to head down to the riverfront if Rivervest is held this year. He says, according to Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear along with health officials, the best way to stay safe is to stay at home.

More than 250,000 people attended Riverfest in 2019. Its fireworks show is among the largest in the midwest.

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