The Des Moines Arts Festival has canceled this year’s event, and instead will focus on engaging the community through interactive experiences and continuing to support professional development of artists, organizers announced Tuesday. 

This year’s festival was scheduled for June 26-28, but organizers said they decided to call it off because of the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Everyone associated with the festival including staff, the board of directors, and Event Management Team volunteers, work every day of the year to bring new ideas to life and produce the safest Festival possible,” Vicki Comegys, chair of the board of directors, said in a news release. “We’ll miss seeing our community fill the streets, meeting artists from across the country, engaging in BOOM ART or the Billboard Project, exploring the interactive arts activities provided by our nonprofit organizations, and listening to great music.”

Organizers said they understand canceling this year’s festival is a damaging setback to artists, vendors who support the festival, the nonprofit community that benefits from marketing and income, and musicians who perform on the festival’s stages.

“Producing the Festival is a passion,” Executive Director Stephen King said in the release. “It’s personal for our families and us. This decision was painful, but I am confident it is the right one in light of the uncertainty facing our nation.”

Organizers said a variety of creative programming will be produced to support the arts in safe and rewarding ways. Some examples: