Harlem, GA- All the rain has caused several big events to be cancelled this weekend across the CSRA.
The Oliver Hardy Festival, which brings thousands of out-of-town visitors, is among the events that have been called off. The festival has been going on for 27 years without a hitch. This weekend marks history as the first time the festival has ever been cancelled. Fans are disappointed, but they aren’t letting the weather keep them down.
As visitors trickle into the Laurel and Hardy Museum to see what’s on the agenda for this weekend, they are learning Saturday’s festivities are off the board.
“I’m really more surprised than anything else,” said Marshall Korby.
Korby, who drove from Michigan, has been calling his friends to let them know about the shocking announcement. The phone continues to ring at the museum with worried visitors.
“It was probably bound to happen sometime, we tried to knock on wood as much as possible, but I guess last year didn’t work,” said Gary Russeth, a volunteer at the museum.
It’s not only the thousands of fans that are hurting from this weekend’s cancellation, but also, the city’s pocket.
“It’s a yearlong planning process for us, so a lot goes in, lots of staff time,” said Jason Rizner, the Harlem City Manager.
The city is refunding vendors’ money for their spots at the festival. More than 200 food and craft vendors were expected this year with slots ranging from 25 to 200 dollars…money that won’t be in the city’s hands anymore.
“It will hurt, but I mean we will get by,” said Russeth.
The funds raised at the event go to the upkeep of the museum. The city says this year it will find a way to fill that void.
“It was a very difficult decision for us to make, something we hated to have to do, but the weather just really forced our hand,” said Rizner.
But some visitors, like Michael Nowland from California, are looking on the bright side.
“It doesn’t bother us because we got plenty of friends and you got the museum to visit,” said Nowland.
Even though the festival is cancelled, the city is still expecting a big crowd at the museum on Saturday, which will be open all day.