Due to ongoing health concerns and continued unknowns created by the COVID-19 global pandemic, the Heritage Foundation will cancel all live festivals and events for the remainder of 2020 which includes Main Street Festival, The Heritage Ball, Pumpkinfest and Dickens of a Christmas. In addition, the Foundation will postpone all further programming at The Franklin Theatre effective June 18, 2020 with the exception of two previously scheduled concerts in July.
“This is a very difficult decision made after months of careful and diligent consideration, and one that marks an unprecedented time in the history of the Heritage Foundation,” said Bari Beasley, Heritage Foundation CEO. “With a clear focus on the health and safety of our community, and after much deliberation and review of health and government updates, virtual options and economic impact, I believe this is the best decision to ensure that the Foundation can continue to serve our great community for generations to come.”
Heritage Foundation Signature Festivals and Events
The Heritage Foundation’s long-standing annual community events which will be cancelled for 2020 include the 37th Annual Main Street Festival scheduled for July 18-19, the 37th Annual Pumpkinfest scheduled for October 24, and 36th Annual Dickens of a Christmas scheduled for December 12-13. The Foundation will also cancel the 47th Annual Heritage Ball scheduled for October 3, which is the longest-running black-tie event in Williamson County and the Foundation’s largest fundraiser.
The Foundation has been closely monitoring pandemic statistics as well as taking heed of the actions of other festival organizers in and around our community who have ultimately decided cancellation was the safest option.
“When you see events such as the Pilgrimage Festival, the Williamson County Fair and CMA Fest being cancelled, it’s an eye-opening realization that it is still not safe for our community to gather in large groups,” adds Beasley. “At the same time, our community festivals and events also serve to generate much-needed operational revenue for the Foundation to keep our preservation, education and community programs going, so community support is needed now more than ever.”
The Franklin Theatre Programming
All remaining programming at The Franklin Theatre as of June 18, 2020, including movies, private events and live programming, will be postponed, with the exception of two concert events previously scheduled for July (details to come). This will also include postponement of the new live performance series scheduled to launch this fall. The Franklin Theatre, a division of the Heritage Foundation, is currently making every effort to reschedule events into the 2021/22 season. Ticket holders can learn more here and new dates for the Performing Arts Series and other 2021/22 programming will be forthcoming.
While this announcement results in both a loss in operating revenue and a reduction in staff, the Heritage Foundation remains focused on its mission and vision of saving places and stories that matter in Williamson County. As a non-profit organization, the Foundation is seeking community support to continue 2020 programs which include advocacy and education for historical preservation, current preservation projects including Franklin Grove Estate & Gardens, support for downtown Main Street merchants through this unprecedented season, and planning to revitalize community festivals and events, and reopen The Franklin Theatre in 2021.
“We need our community to be part of the story this year, so it will be possible to make 2021 a year of community celebration, reviving our downtown Franklin signature festivals and events, and filling the Franklin Theatre with the new live performing arts season,” said Beasley. “So we are asking all of our donors and anyone who attended any of our events or enjoyed our historic Franklin Theatre in the past to please consider making a tax-deductible donation to the Heritage Foundation so that we can keep focused on saving these amazing places.”
People can donate or learn more about supporting the mission of the Heritage Foundation at www.williamsonheritage.org/
ABOUT THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION OF WILLIAMSON COUNTY
Since 1967, the Heritage Foundation of Williamson County has been dedicated to preserving Williamson County’s architectural, geographic and cultural heritage as well as promoting the ongoing revitalization of downtown Franklin in the context of historic preservation. Notable projects include The Franklin Theatre, Roper’s Knob, parts of the Franklin battlefield and the Old, Old Jail. The Foundation brings county history to about 3,000 school children each year through the Heritage Classroom program as well as walking tours of downtown Franklin. Events and festivals produced by the Heritage Foundation such as Main Street Festival, the Heritage Ball, Pumpkinfest and Dickens of a Christmas bring hundreds of thousands of locals and visitors to downtown Franklin each year. The Heritage Foundation owns and operates The Franklin Theatre, the Downtown Franklin Association, and the organization’s newest division and current restoration project, Franklin Grove Estate & Gardens. For more information about the Heritage Foundation, visit www.williamsonheritage.