Organizers of the 54th annual Rattlesnake Festival and the 42nd annual Rattlesnake Run have called the festivities off this year because of concerns about COVID-19.
The Thomas Promise Foundation Board of Directors, which assumed ownership of the festival four years ago, recently announced its decision to cancel this year’s event.
“We felt it was better to act with caution due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Joe Simmons, executive director of The Thomas Promise Foundation, said in a news release. “Cases of coronavirus are on the upswing in Florida and who knows where we will be in October? Therefore, with the safety of our vendors and community paramount, we will cancel this year’s festival and plan for an exceptional Rattlesnake Festival in 2021.”
The board is committed to resuming the venerable festival and the popular Rattlesnake Run in 2021, Thomas said, in the release.
This is the first time the festival will not be held since its inception in 1967.
The Thomas Promise Foundation provides six weekend meals to food-insecure children. It has continued its mission during the COVID-19 crisis, feeding nearly 2,000 children each week.
Net proceeds from the festival are used to support the Thomas Promise Foundation’s food program.
“While COVID-19 has created significant uncertainty for all of us, the continued generosity of individuals and local businesses has enabled us to maintain our summer feeding program,” Simmons said. “This is a critical time for many families, unlike anything they have ever faced. We have a lot on our plate making sure kids have something on their plate.”
The Rattlesnake Festival and Rattlesnake Run are long-held traditions, first held at San Antonio City Park before moving in recent years to the Pasco County Fairgrounds.
Organizers for the Rattlesnake Festival have changed through the years, but the goals of providing a place where the community can gather and have fun, while raising money to support a good cause — have remained constant through the years.
Those who would like to contribute to help feed children can reach Simmons at (813) 780-0000, or send a message through The Thomas Promise Foundation Facebook Page or Twitter account. Simmons can also be reached by email at .
Published July 08, 2020