First Assembly of God, Forest City Pharmacy, H& R Block, Hartley’s Climate Control, Heroic Heating & Air, Huffman Lawn & Landscaping, Hutcheson Ford, J Rogers Architecture, James Foundation, Just a Taste, Lynch Excavating & Trucking, Napa, Phelps County Bank, Sakelaris Ford, St. James Dental Center, St. James Veterinary Medical Center, St. James Winery, Stallman, Sybill’s Restaurant & Gift Shop
During these uncertain times, tough decisions have to be made. It is with great sadness that the Grape & Fall Festival Committee and the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors must announce that the 2020 Grape & Fall Festival WILL BE CANCELLED.
FFA/4H will have a future announcement for the livestock show and sale that WILL take place off site this year.
This decision was not made by few, but by a majority vote of the committee, followed by a majority vote of the Board. This was not easy to decide and we had many moving parts to consider. Festivals in nature are an event of high risk and in this unprecedented year, the risk is just too high. We had to consider the health and safety of patrons and volunteers, as well as the financial risk involved. While we understand that this may be a controversial decision, we hope to have your understanding and support as we explain, with transparency, a few of the major factors that went into our decision.
We are all aware of the risks of spreading COVID-19 at large gatherings. In light of the recent increase in positive cases in St James, we cannot be certain that our community can safely gather together, nor can we predict future restrictions that may be put in place if numbers continue to rise. We must think of our community’s safety first and foremost. Not only would we be inviting our own citizens to gather in large groups where social distancing is difficult, but we would also be inviting in vendors and workers from outside of our area, increasing the potential for outside exposure. Many employees associated with our event companies would be constantly traveling before coming into our small town, and then coming into close contact with our citizens. Volunteers are often difficult to find and would be at a higher risk as they would need to work closely with guests and vendors from all over. We can’t ask our citizens and volunteers to take these risks in order to support our event.
The uncertainty of this year has also presented a greater financial risk to both the Chamber and the patrons of GFF. The Chamber receives income from only membership dues, events and a percentage of the city’s tourism hotel bed tax. Due to state wide restriction orders, our fundraising events have been cancelled and the bed tax is minimal. This leaves us to lean on sponsors and gate admission to cover the nearly $40,000 (not including any music concerts) in non-refundable expenses that come with GFF. Many greatly appreciated sponsors have stepped forward to help with a portion of expenses, but we do not wish to gamble with their hard earned money. If the event had to be later cancelled due to late placed restrictions, our expenses would not be refunded and our sponsors’ money would go to waste. If we had an unsuccessful turn out, the Chamber is not in a financial position to cover the remaining expenses with this year’s low income and fundraising. We have a fiduciary responsibility to our members and sponsors to be good stewards of the funds we receive, and this year’s festival would be too risky of an investment.
The GFF committee had been hard at work and were looking forward to many exciting changes, including the all inclusive carnival. The new carnival company WILL return next year. 2021 will be the Missouri Bicentennial and we have many great things in the works already! We will continue to fundraise and are determined to use this set back to make Grape & Fall Festival 2021 the best year yet and cannot wait to see you all there!!
Purchase Tickets Online for Saturday Night Concert
Bring a copy of your email receipt for proof of purchase
Ticket Price: $20
Keep up with the latest information on our Facebook Page!
Aug 22nd – Queen Pageant
Aug 26-29 – Festival
2019 GFF Fairgrounds Vendor App
2019 GFF Street Vendor App
2019 Mr & Miss St James App
2019 Queen Pageant App
2019 Dog Show App
2019 Parade Application
2019 Sponsorship Form
2019 3 vs 3 Basketball Sign up