BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)– Heartbroken, that’s how the Galbani Italian Heritage Festival organizers feel after sharing the news that the popular Western New York staple won’t be happening.
“Of course we want to see everybody, of course we want everybody to come to the kitchen table and have dinner with us,” said Marco Sciortino festival spokesperson. “But this year it doesn’t feel right.”
Officials with the festival canceled this year’s event for the second year in a row, because of the pandemic.
“There’s too much at risk, and first and foremost the safety of our residents, of Western New York our guests, the vendors and the workers, that’s number one,” said Sciortino.
New York State loosened its coronavirus restrictions on large outdoor events they allow 200 people outdoors and up to 500 people outdoors if folks show a negative covid test. The last time the festival took place was in 2019. It was outside at Niagara Square.
“The Italian Festival draws half a million people a year. Let’s say, we have 100 thousand people, it’s still going to be crazy,” he said. “You can’t monitor 100 thousand people. No one is going to stand there and check vaccination cards and check covid results, it’s just impossible .”
As far as Western New York’s other favorite festivals, the Taste of Buffalo still plans to host its event on July 10th and 11th; and Erie County Fair still has its event planned for August.
But, officials with both organizations, tell News 4s they’re just waiting for more guidance regarding covid safety measures.