NORFOLK, Iowa (KCAU) — Board members voted to pull the plug on The Great American Comedy Festival in Norfolk this June due to COVID concerns.
According to a release, the Board of Directors of the festival voted not to continue with plans for the 2021 festival.
“We never imagined when we cancelled the 2020 festival last year that we would be facing the same uncertainties and challenges in spring of 2021,” said Lisa Wattier, executive director. “Our primary concern is to always provide our guests with a safe, fun festival. While the public’s ability to get vaccinated is improved, we remain a long way from herd immunity. Additional virus variants that could bring possible COVID surges and the questionable availability of entertainers willing to travel to Nebraska make planning the festival extremely difficult.
Wattier said that the uncertainties surrounding the pandemic helped make the decision.
“Because of the continuing uncertainties, we just felt it best to not proceed with planning for the 2021 Great American Comedy Festival, ”Wattier said. “We are not alone. Special events usually held in the summer are being canceled across the country. It was recently announced that San Diego’s Comic-Con will again be virtual this summer and the 2022 in-person event has been postponed.”
Wattier said the Board of Directors and Planning Committee look forward to planning the 2022 Great American Comedy Festival.
“It will be so much fun to bring all that laughter back to the Johnny Carson Theatre,” she said. “We miss the fun of the festival that puts Norfolk on the map among comedians from across the country. We will strive to make the 2022 festival the best one than ever.”
Pre-paid donor sponsorships were returned to sponsors.
According to the festival’s website, The Great American Comedy Festival was created in 2008 to pay tribute to the legacy of Norfolk’s favorite native son, Johnny Carson.