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Towsontown Spring Festival slated for early May postponed until further notice

The Towsontown Spring Festival, which has run the first weekend of May for the past 52 years, has been postponed due to the coronavirus, the Towson Chamber of Commerce announced.

Towson Gardens Day, which usually runs the Thursday prior to the festival, also has been postponed.

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The chamber hopes to reschedule Towson’s largest annual event, which draws around 200,000 visitors to the town’s core, to a later date in the summer or fall, according to the chamber’s Towson Festival Committee.

Rescheduling the festival hinges not only on governmental orders, but “first and foremost, what’s safe for people,” chamber director Nancy Hafford said.

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Even if state and local governments reauthorize mass gatherings and say that it’s OK to go out again, "that doesn’t mean people are going to want to go to a huge festival,” Hafford said.

“People are fearful," she said. “None of us know how that’s going to play out."

Without the weekend of musical performances, carnival rides and vendors, the Towson business chamber is losing around $100,000 in revenue to support chamber salaries and programming, including community cleanups and streetscape projects that add up to about $75,000 annually, as well as educational seminars and events for the chamber’s 300 members that paid dues this year, Hafford said.

“Some of the good things we do for the community, we might not be able to do them now,” Hafford said. “It all depends on how long we’re in this situation.”

The Towsontown festival usually draws more than 350 vendors who reserve space in downtown Towson, centered on Washington and Pennsylvania avenues. In early March, the chamber began advising businesses seeking to set up booths that the festival might not continue as scheduled, Hafford said.

The chamber’s role during the COVID-19 pandemic has been to connect member businesses that have been hit financially with resources for governmental funding.

Now, Hafford said the chamber is exploring options for payroll assistance for its staff, although she added the organization is “prudent with our funds” and will “come back from this.”

It’s unclear how many more of the chamber’s 130 annual events will have to be canceled or postponed, but Hafford said she’ll plan something big to celebrate the community’s resilience once restrictions are lifted and the pandemic subsides.

“I wanna throw the biggest damn party this town has ever seen,” Hafford said. “Mark my word, that’s gonna happen.”

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