Geneva cancels Winterfest due to COVID-19

Sydney Manis competes in the winter wear competition in 2020 at Geneva High School during the Miss Winterfest Pageant. The pageant was cancelled early this summer and the Winterfest festival was officially cancelled on Wednesday.

GENEVA — All that is left of the 2021 Winterfest will be a snowman decorating contest due to the coronavirus pandemic, said Geneva Special Events Coordinator Margie Netzel and Geneva Business Association President James Santiago. 

“It is just so sad,” Netzel said. She said the event has drawn interest from near and far with people pouring into the city during the middle of winter.

She said the Winterfest pageant was canceled last summer. Hope was held out for some portion of the festival to be held, but the final decision was made Wednesday by the committee.

“Over the last several years, Winterfest has become one of the region’s largest and most popular wintertime events. Thousands and thousands of people from across northeast Ohio, Pennsylvania, southern New York and even West Virginia come to take part in Winterfest,” Santiago said.

The Winterfest pageant royalty will serve another year and Netzel said she hopes they will get an opportunity to travel and represent the city this year because so much was canceled in 2020.

Netzel said she gets emails from festival royalty representatives from all over Ohio and recently had contacts with people interested in the event from as far away as West Virginia and Chicago.

The event grew over the year and included a parade, ice carving contests, a chili cooking contest, the pageant and many other events.

The city and the Geneva Business Association have worked together on the festival for many years. Netzel said the event had to be canceled for safety reasons in light of the pandemic, but hopes conditions will be okay to conduct the event next year.

She said the wooden snowmen decorating contest will occur.

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