The Lisbon Town Council voted 5-1 to cancel the town’s Moxie Festival this summer due to the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, the town will try to hold smaller community events through the summer.

Parks and Recreation Director Mark Stevens told the council he can’t see how the town can safely plan an effective, safe parade or the Friday night events that identify the Moxie Festival.

“That doesn’t mean that we can’t do other things,” Stevens said.

Stevens said that could include a car show, fireworks show or a 5K race in Beaver Park marketed locally only instead of to all of New England.

“We need to get enthusiasm back in our community and this is one way to do it,” he said.

Town council chairperson Allen Ward made the motion to cancel the festival, “throughout the course of this program year which will run clean through fall as far as I’m concerned, that if we have the opportunity to be able to incorporate Moxie-themed ideas associated with that, that we continue to explore those.”

Councilor Jeff Ganong, who opposed canceling the festival, said it could be possible to hold a festival safely by July at the rate the state is vaccinating people against COVID-19.

As of  Feb. 2, 127,647 people, or 9.5% of Maine’s population, have received both sets of the COVID vaccination, according to the Maine CDC.

There have been 44,944 cases of COVID-19 reported in Maine as of Tuesday the Portland Press Herald reported. There had been 185 total COVID-19 cases in Lisbon and 171 cases in Lisbon Falls as of Feb. 21, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The production of the vaccine is accelerating according to the Portland Press Herald, which reports that late Tuesday afternoon, President Biden announced that he expects the U.S. to produce enough COVID-19 vaccine for all adult Americans by the end of May.

The annual Moxie Festival in July includes a large parade and attracts around 30,000 people. The report on the 2019 Moxie Festival shows that the event cost $29,637 and made $32,316 in revenue that included $20,795 in sponsorships. The remainder came from vendor and merchandise sales.

Councilor Norm Albert said there is no way the town can safely hold its normal festival this summer and looks forward to being in a place to kick off the full festival in 2022.

“But right now, we can do a lot of cool things with what we have,” Albert said.

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