Riverhead’s popular Polish Town Street Fair and Festival canceled for 2020

The annual Polish Town Street Fair and Festival has been canceled due to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic. 

It’s the first time since its inaugural event in 1975 that the festival has been canceled.

A fundraiser for the Polish Town Civic Association, the fair was scheduled to take place on Aug. 15 and 16 this year.

“I’m so disappointed in this,” said Polish Town Civic Association president Kay Davis. “We tried every angle to find out what the situation was going to be in August.”

The Suffolk County Health Department told her they were not issuing any permits until Phase 4 of the state’s reopening plan, which won’t start until at least July.

“Nobody would give us an answer, and so we have a conference meeting with our executive board and we decided the best thing to do was to just cancel it,” she said. “We had so much debt. We’re really going to miss it.”

The Riverhead Town Board has a resolution scheduled for Tuesday to return the $350 application fee for the festival.

Ms. Davis says there are thousands of dollars in costs the association has already spent on the event. There were 250 applications for vendors, she said.

Ms. Davis said they’ve had heavy rain during the festival in the past and they held the event anyway.

The Polish Town Fair and Festival is not the only event that will be canceled.

The Town Board Agenda for Tuesday has resolutions to refund the application fees for seven other events, including the Peconic Bay Medical Center’s Health Walk, Tanger Outlet Center’s Memorial Day Block Party and the Butterfly Effect Project’s Food Truck Fair.

Other events have chosen to change the date of their events, including East End Arts’ 24th Annual Community Mosaic Street Painting Festival, which will now be held on Sept. 6, instead of late May,  and the popular Chicken Kidz Children’s Consignment Event, which will now be held on the week of Sept. 30 through Oct. 4.

Beyond Riverhead, annual events such as the Fourth of July Parade in Southampton, the Hampton Classic Horse Show in Bridgehampton and the Strawberry Festival in Mattituck have been canceled this summer.