AUBURN — The Auburn Cord Duesenberg Festival has been canceled for 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The festival organization’s board of directors made the decision in a July 1 meeting. It interrupts a 64-year tradition for one of Indiana’s largest tourist events, held each year over Labor Day weekend.
“After consultation with local health officials, local government and our valued partners, we have determined that the responsible course of action would be to cancel the annual festival this year,” Leslie Peel, the festival’s executive director, said in a news release July 2.
“We have continued to monitor the COVID-19 presence in our area, as well as across the country since we host thousands of attendees yearly, many of whom come from all over the United States and internationally,” Peel’s announcement continued. “Many months have been spent in discussions as how to best proceed in order to keep those in our community and those who attend as safe as possible. We also realized and considered the tremendous burden our local businesses and community have endured these last few months, and the impact of the ACD Festival for added business.
“This is not a decision to which the board of directors arrived lightly, but one made out of an abundance of caution, and in keeping the health and safety of our community, volunteers, vendors and attendees as our top priority. We were saddened to hear that the ACD Club would be unable to attend the 2020 festival, but completely support their decision. While not the only reason behind our cancellation, their decision was an integral part of ours.”
On June 20, officers of the international Auburn Cord Duesenberg Club decided that the club would not attend the festival this year due to health concerns. Club members from across the nation annually bring more than 200 classic cars to the festival for a parade and other public and private events. The club said it will conduct a virtual reunion this year.
The 2020 Auburn Cord Duesenberg Festival was set to celebrate its 64th year, along with the ACD Club’s celebration of the 120th anniversary of the Auburn Automobile Co., which manufactured the three car brands the club collects. This year’s festival theme was “Women behind the Wheel.”
“As always the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Festival organization remains committed to celebrating and promoting the unique automobile heritage of Auburn, not just over Labor Day weekend,” said Mike Boswell, ACD Festival board president.
“As disappointing as it is to have to cancel our 64th year, we hope this year will be just be a blip on the radar in the history of the ACD Festival,” Peel added. “We will shift our focus to planning for the 2021 festival, which we hope to make bigger and better than ever. A huge ‘thank you” goes out to our sponsors and those who continue to support our festival year after year. We truly could not do it without you.”