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Leesburg Bikefest canceled -- again -- due to coronavirus

Organizers say Level 3 needed for ‘event of this magnitude’

LEESBURG, Fla. – Leesburg Bikefest 2020 has been canceled due to the coronavirus, officials announced Friday.

The event, originally scheduled for April 24-26 before being moved to November 13-15, has been scrapped altogether.

“We needed the governor to move the state into Level 3 COVID-19 status before we could move forward with hosting an event of this magnitude,” said Joe Shipes, CEO of the Leesburg Partnership. “Our efforts moving forward will focus on the Spring Leesburg Bikefest April 23-25, 2021.”

Organizers said the event is considered one of the largest bike and music events in the country.

“We estimate our crowd to be somewhere between 200-300,000 people,” Joe Shipes, CEO of Leesburg Partnership said.

They have been organizing Bikefest since 1997 as well as other festivals.

Leesburg Bikefest is a three-day event that expands to more than 20 blocks in downtown Leesburg, giving restaurants, retail stores and hotels a boost in sales -- not just in Leesburg, but across several other cities nearby.

“That’s one of their biggest weekends of the year is Leesburg Bikefest. In the 24 years that we’ve been doing this event I believe we’re at $1 billion in economic impact,” Shipes said.

Even if Gov. DeSantis announces a phase three reopening within the next few weeks, they’d still have to cancel the event.

“The planning on an event this size takes normally six months to a year. We had already done a lot of the leg work for the previous event in April,” Shipes said, referring to the original date for the event. “To tell us that we could do the event a month out just doesn’t give us the time.”

Two other popular events, Balloons on the LakeFront and the Leesburg Craft Beer, Food and Wine Festival, have also been canceled and will return in 2021, officials said.

“We’ve had to cancel our craft beer event, we’re canceling our balloon festival, and we’re looking at our holiday schedule now also that those could be canceled as well,” Shipes said

The city’s Christmas Stroll and Christmas Parade events are still pending. Updates can be found at leesburgpartnership.com.


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