The Astoria Regatta is canceled for the second year in a row due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The festival is the city’s longest standing annual celebration. The event has only been modified four other times, including 2020, after World War I, the Astoria fire in 1922 and World War II.
“It is with regret that the Astoria Regatta Association will not host a festival for the 2021 season,” Melissa Grothe, a Lewis and Clark Elementary School teacher and president of the Astoria Regatta Association, said in a statement.
The festival, which celebrates regional maritime history and culture, began in 1894. In lieu of the 2021 festival, the Astoria Regatta Association is encouraging local businesses to decorate their front windows with “their best Regatta regalia,” during the week of Aug. 11 to Aug. 14.
The decision to cancel the festival was brought on by the effects of the pandemic. The association’s board hopes to reduce stress on local businesses and volunteers.
“Our board acknowledges the incredible challenge our community has been facing and want to respect the hard work that businesses and individuals are putting in to keep things moving forward,” Grothe said. “However, the Regatta festival operates almost entirely through the incredible generosity of our community members both financially and time-wise.
“To ask for donations or do any fundraising at this time would only serve to add more pressure to our local businesses and community members in a difficult season.”
Another factor behind the decision was Clatsop County’s virus case numbers. The county remains at high risk for the virus under the state’s designation.
“With COVID-19 cases still permeating our community, we also want to respect the health and safety of our community members by avoiding additional gatherings,” Grothe said.
Annalyse Steele, of Astoria High School, was crowned as Regatta queen during a small coronation ceremony in 2020. She will maintain her role until 2022, when the Astoria Regatta Association “can safely host the festival,” according to the press release.
The festival’s 2020 court also includes princesses Zoey Alexander, of Seaside High School; Mia McFadden, of Warrenton High School; and Gabrielle Morrill, of Knappa High School. The group attended a few events in 2020, including a “reverse parade” in Tillamook.
Throughout summer and “especially during Regatta week,” the Astoria Regatta Association will share photos on social media platforms from past celebrations to “keep the Regatta spirit alive,” Grothe said.
“We look forward to a grand celebration next summer and hope you are practicing your best parade wave because ya’ gotta Regatta,” Grothe said.