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Pennsburg to Pass on Community Day for 2021

            Without casting a vote Tuesday night, Pennsburg Council decided not to hold its half of Community Day later this year. The members appeared to reach a consensus to cancel their half of the annual due to concerns over COVID-19.

            Council President Diane Stevens confirmed that reality in a text message received after the meeting. Member F. Robert Seville and Mayor Charles Shagg initially expressed their support for the postponement due to the safety of the community.

            "The situation is so volatile," Stevens said during the meeting, hosted on Zoom. "I would not be able to sleep at night if something happened to someone."

            According to Member Mike Mensch, East Greenville is planning on holding its portion of the event, scheduled for Sept. 11, just like it has in past years. Mensch said he discussed the issue recently with Angie Fegely, president of the neighboring borough's council.

            One week earlier, members of East Greenville Council spoke enthusiastically about staging its half of the event. During its April 5 meeting, Member Melissa Leinbach suggested doubling the municipality's budgeted amount for the festival since last year's event was canceled in 2020 due to concerns over the novel coronavirus.

            Leinbach expressed a willingness to include new businesses in the event. She volunteered to meet with a handful of shop owners on Main Street. Joe Rock suggested that municipal officials meet soon to discuss the possibilities before including community members.

            On Wednesday, East Greenville Council Member Lon Brinckman II confirmed preliminary plans for a meeting by the end of the month – coordinated by President Angie Fegely Secretary Treasurer Sharon Kachmar – to discuss its options for community day. Brinckman wrote in an email message that he plans on attending the meeting.

            Pennsburg officials began their discussion Tuesday under the premise of scaling back its half of the festival. Initially, the members planned on eliminating the borough's sale of any food or holding its auction.

            Administrative manager Liza Hiltz suggested just hiring musical entertainment, inviting municipal businesses to set up stands "and let it be what it's going to be." She said a scaled-down event was doable, but that it was hard to make a call because so many factors related to the pandemic, such as the continued impact of virus variants and the increased number of people receiving a vaccination, were changing.

            Stevens broached the idea of permitting food vendors. She said a representative from the Pennsburg Volunteer Fire Company had hoped to sell food at the event as a way to raise money.  "How would we control that?" she asked.

            At that point, Shagg made the suggestion to hold off on any festivities until 2022. He argued that municipal officials had made the decision to scale it back so far that no one would make any money. Council agreed.

            "We're not going to lose anything by delaying another year," the mayor said. "I would rather err on the side of safety."






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