Springfield’s annual Ethnic Festival has been cancelled after more than 40 years due to declining attendance. Festival president Charlie Palazzolo says the event lost money in its last three or four years, especially because the weather was bad during the last three.
The Labor Day weekend festival where people sampled food from several cultures at the Illinois State Fairgrounds drew as many as 75,000 people in the 1970s and ’80s. Palazzolo says organizers have seen around 9,000 people in recent years, and even fewer in bad weather.
He says clubs and community groups that used to participate have dropped out and organizers have had to bring in vendors. He says it’s possible the festival will return on a smaller scale in the future.