Important update concerning Gold Rush 2020
Please read our entire statement carefully.
After careful planning and thoughtful prayer, we have decided to cancel this year’s Gold Rush Days Festival. This will be the first time the festival has been cancelled since 1968.
Our group lives and works in this community. We know how important Gold Rush is to our local businesses, non-profit groups, our City and County operations that rely on the tax revenue from the weekend, our vendors, and the families who enjoy the tradition of the event. We reached out to our local friends and family. We listened to both sides of the story. We know the struggle 2020 has been on this community. We know the impact that cancelling Gold Rush will have and that is what makes cancelling the festival by far the most difficult decision our group has ever made.
There are countless organizations in town that rely on Gold Rush as their primary fundraiser. More than a dozen church groups, sports teams, school groups, civic organizations, fraternities, sororities and other non-profits benefit from the crowds the weekend draws in. We know our local restaurants, hotels and businesses rely on Gold Rush as one of their best weekends of the year. Our hearts are heavy with the burden of knowing how the community will react to the news. We know some will applaud the decision, and others will denounce our actions. Whatever your position, please know we truly understand the frustration and we fought as hard as we could and will continue to fight for our community.
As the event host, we are responsible for providing safe social distancing for large groups, as outlined in the Governor’s orders. If you have been to Gold Rush, you know how large the crowds can get at times. We planned various scenarios for addressing the issue and each one fell short of providing the safety required while maintaining the festival experience as we know it. We gathered information from our partners at Northeast Georgia Health Systems, local schools, from various government departments and used that information to weigh options. We reached out to other festivals all over the state and brainstormed ideas on how each organization could have a successful event in the days of Covid-19. One-by-one we saw the struggle of other festivals cancelling. I am sure you have seen the list of cancellations spanning all across Georgia. We have been planning to have the event right up until this last moment and despite our efforts, the time has come to bow out. Rest assured we will start planning the 2021 festival right away.
Gold Rush Days Festival, Inc. is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit that hosts the two-day festival. Our board operates the festival at considerable cost; however, we are rewarded with profits that help us to directly support our community through a variety of philanthropic programs. Funds are raised through the selling of booth spaces, parade entries, t-shirt sales and direct donations. One hundred percent of our profits are spent in the local community. Last year, $53,000 was used for college scholarships, direct family aid, donations to other non-profits, random acts of kindness and through our Empty Stocking Christmas program.
This year, like many other groups, we are going to see a huge decrease in our revenue stream, however we are determined to make a positive impact to those in need. We will restructure our programs and continue to serve this community, regardless of a loss in revenue. That is our passion and we will not fail to meet the needs of our neighbors. The groups we mentioned above have similar programs with far reaching effects in this town. They too will continue to be a helping hand to those in need. Our local businesses will dig deep and keep their chin up during these hard times. However, none of us can do it alone. We all need your help. If you are able, please visit the local downtown businesses, eat at one of our fantastic restaurants, grab a dessert at one of our sweet treat stores, reach out to a non-profit group and offer to make a monetary donation or a donation of volunteer hours.
If you would like additional information, please reach out to us via our email at firstname.lastname@example.org or our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/GoldRushDaysFestival).
To our vendors, please look for a separate email from our Board regarding next steps. It will outline multiple options for vendor refunds. We appreciate your understanding as we navigate uncharted waters together.
2020 has been a struggle, but we can truly make a difference if we pull together. Above all, we ask for your prayers for this community during hard times.
Gold Rush Days Festival
2021 Gold Rush Days Festival