ELLSWORTH -- Ellsworth Area Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, April 2, announced the 2020 Cheese Curd Festival is canceled. The festival was set for June 26-27 in East End Park.

In a message from the chamber, the executive team explained that the decision was a difficult one, but one made out of an abundance of caution over the community’s health and safety amid the growing COVID-19 pandemic.

The decision comes on the heels of Pierce County Public Health Department announcing the Ellsworth area a high-risk area for COVID-19. The health department also recently announced three new cases of the respiratory illness.

On Tuesday, the Ellsworth Village Board declared a public health emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The chamber said it believes the decision will protect the health of the community, volunteers and festival attendees.

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Cheese Curd Festival is the chamber’s main fundraiser. Proceeds fund many of the chamber’s initiatives to develop the area community and businesses. The event has a $2.55 million economic, according to the chamber.

A survery at the 2018 festival found that 96.1% of estimated 30,000 attendees came from outside the 54011 postal code area. The 2019 festival attracted a similar crowd.

“Please join us in thanking our Cheese Curd Festival Committee members — they were on track to have an amazing event! We also wish to thank the sponsors who made a commitment to the event although times were uncertain,” the team wrote.

The event was set to have some 6,000 pounds of cheese curds with over 20 cheese curd food dishes and over 30 craft beers, hard ciders and local wines. The annual event also offers live music, a classic car show, vendor market and a cheese curd eating contest among other events.

“As challenging as this time is, we're committed to working through it all and coming back better than ever in 2021,” the team wrote.