It is with great sadness that we share Friends of the Cheat’s decision to cancel all in-person parts of the Cheat River Festival this year. We feel it is important to move in step with the broader suspension of gatherings to support a robust and unified community response in protecting our most vulnerable neighbors.
During this difficult time where we must move to physically distance ourselves, we are called to creatively discover ways to come together and support one another. Challenges like this magnify the reality that our watersheds are also our health-sheds, in which our collective well-being is inextricably intertwined. In the coming weeks, we will be shifting our energy towards creating ways we can adapt and salvage those parts of the festival that can still have life, even from afar. Please stay tuned – and let us know if you have any ideas!
Cheat Fest is FOC’s primary fundraiser, providing a significant portion of the operating budget for the organization each year. Right now, we are working hard to figure out how we can provide financial stability for FOC and its staff without this event. There is a lot of heavy lifting our community must do to support local and small organizations as we strive to weather the financial impacts of this public health crisis. We know that many folks will feel the economic effects of this crisis, but we ask those of you who are able to continue your financial support of FOC, please do so.
Beyond the financial implications of the decision to cancel Cheat Fest, we are heartbroken that we will not be able to greet spring with our Cheat River Family. For us, Cheat Fest is the best weekend of the year – it revives and refocuses our energy as we are reminded how many people are invested and care deeply about what we do. For many of you, Cheat Fest is a family reunion of sorts, and we recognize the disappointment you may feel. Know that we will all be together soon, and that the spirit of Cheat Fest lives on.
If you are one of the many people or organizations who was planning to be a part of the festival, please wait for us to follow up with further logistics about moving forward.