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A view of a previous year’s Sheffield Lake Community Days. This year’s festival is canceled but a fireworks display, sponsored by the city, takes place July 9.

SHEFFIELD LAKE

The loosening of state pandemic guidelines arrived too late to save Sheffield Lake’s annual Community Days.

Gov. Mike DeWine lifted most of the state’s coronavirus mandates last week in time for the North Ridgeville Corn Festival, once canceled, to be reinstated with virtually no restrictions. Planned concerts at Lorain’s Black River Landing also will go forward, along with other large-scale events.

But Community Days, the annual fundraiser for the Sheffield Lake Community Civic Council, couldn’t schedule many popular features, such as carnival rides, at such a late date. Food vendors also proved in short supply.

The council announced cancellation of the event, held at the Shoreway Shopping Center near Lake and Lake Breeze roads, on its Facebook page in late May. Carnival companies are operating on a much reduced schedule due to the pandemic and the continued cancellation of some events. The low number of bookings made it financially unfeasible for some companies to operate this year, while others were booked for the few dates they had available.

Rides are an essential part of Community Days, said City Councilman at Large and civic council President Steve Kovach. He added Community Days do not have the broad types of attractions as does, for example, Ridgeville’s Corn Festival. The civic council felt moving Community Days to later in the summer was impractical, as the event would have had to compete with the Corn Festival, the Lorain County Fair and other happenings.

Not all is lost: Community Days always featured fireworks and the city is sponsoring a display and a parade, both on July 9. The usual starting time is 10 p.m., said Kovach, who put the price of a display at about $10,000. The parade will consist of fewer units and no trophies for participants, Kovach said. No time is decided.

The display is launched from the Sheffield Lake Boat Launch on Lake opposite the Shoreway Shopping Center. The darkness of the night sky and the darkness of the water combined to make the display quite impressive, Kovach said.

The civic council hopes to hold a stripped down version of the Community Days parade. No decision was made as of press time.

“What we would have is a ’Community Day’ instead of ‘Community Days,’” Kovach added.

The pandemic also caused the cancellation of the 2020 Community Days. This year’s cancellation marks only the second time in 50 years the event has not taken place, according to Kovach.

An untimely storm canceled the parade three years ago but the festival went on.

Kovach has helped organize the festival for over 30 years. Wife Kathy also is heavily involved.

While Community Days is the civic council’s only fundraiser, Kovach said the group also depends on donors to support its activities. He is hopeful donors will step forward to help the group with its mission in the coming year.

Kovach vowed Community Days would return in 2022.

“We’re doing everything we possibly can to keep this thing going,” he said.

Contact this reporter at tcorrigan@westlifenews.com or 440-871-5797.

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