Coronavirus Forces Cancelation Of Rising Sun 2020 Blues & BBQ

Friday, April 3, 2020 at 7:10 AM

By Rising Sun/Ohio County Tourism, press release

“There was too many “what ifs” involved. It wasn’t fair to our sponsors, vendors, or our organization to keep putting time and money into an event that we weren’t sure was going to be allowed to happen.”

(Rising Sun, Ind.) - Organizers of the annual Rising Sun Blues & BBQ have canceled the June 20, 2020 event due to the coronavirus situation.

“We sadly decided to cancel this year’s event,” said Kendal Miller, executive director of the Ohio County Convention, Tourism, and Visitors Commission. The tourism organization has been funding the event with the help of sponsorships since its 2018 inception.

Miller explained that she and the Tourism Commission Board of Directors agreed that the stay-at-home order and social distancing guidelines still in effect at the time of this press release (April 1) were just too close to the event date to keep worrying if the festival was going to be allowed to happen.

“There was too many “what ifs” involved. It wasn’t fair to our sponsors, vendors, or our organization to keep putting time and money into an event that we weren’t sure was going to be allowed to happen,” Miller said.

There were also concerns if people were going to feel comfortable attending a large gathering should the stay-at-home and social distancing state mandates be lifted before the event.

While canceling an event two and half months beforehand may seem premature to some, Miller explains that making this call now is the responsible thing to do. It’s harder to relay info to attendees and vendors of a last minute cancellation after it have advertised though venues across many states.

Five blues bands, a stage, sound, and bounce houses were already booked. Several arts/crafts/food/ information vendors and BBQ cooking participants were signed up to participate in this year’s event. The collectible BBQ T-shirt was in the design process and the promotional poster was complete but had not yet gone to print.

“It’s not unusual for vendor/BBQ contestant applications to come in at the last minute. However, once the news turned to the coronavirus, applications stopped arriving. It’s nobody’s fault—it was an unforeseen circumstance. We can’t blame anyone for not wanting to commit to an event right now,” Miller explained.

Media releases and some paid advertising had already gone out but the majority was on hold as the news of the coronavirus worsened.

The Tourism Commission will be returning all the money paid by vendors and the grant awarded to the Blues & BBQ event by the Ohio County Community Foundation.

“We appreciate everyone who helped with the Blues & BBQ event and the Ohio County Community Foundation’s gracious grant support. To vendors who applied before the coronaviris situation occurred we thank you for your support and hope to see you back in Rising Sun soon. That being said however, we don’t want to keep spending money on an event that we aren’t sure can happen or people may not feel safe attending,” said Miller.

Located at 217 N. High Street in Rising Sun, the Ohio County Tourism Visitors Center is closed until further notice. For more information, log-on to or e-mail

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