Dripping Springs City Council approved the festival’s cancellation Jan. 19, based on a recommendation by the Founders Day Commission.
Traditionally, Founders Day celebrates the 1850 founding of Dripping Springs by the Moss, Wallace and Pound families. The two-day festival offers live music, arts and retail booths, food, games, a parade and opportunities to help local nonprofit organizations.
Founders Day Commission Chair Brenda Medcalf said the festival typically takes about 12 months to plan, Without knowing how a festival would run in 2021, the group has not been able to organize sponsorships, vendors and activities as they have in the past, she said.
“I'm disappointed,” Mayor Bill Foulds said. “I feel like there was a way that we could have this event, but it would have taken a whole lot of planning, and unfortunately, that planning didn't get done earlier.”
Jake Adams, Founders Day Commission vice chair, said there is no group of people more disappointed about the decision than the members of the commission. However, after pushing back their decision numerous times in the hopes that COVID-19 conditions locally would show signs of improvement, he said the commission decided holding a festival this spring was not feasible and was in the best interest of public health.
“It was truly with heavy hearts that we had to come to that decision, but certainly it wasn't a lack of trying to make it happen or future planning,” he said. “We looked at everything from hosting virtual music sessions to spreading out the days to mitigate the traffic flow to eliminating some of the components. We kept coming back to our commissioners meeting thinking that maybe the trend would slow down and we could make this event happen. Unfortunately, things are just trending in the wrong direction.”
Council Member Travis Crow, who was the lone vote against the motion to cancel, said that he thinks the vote was a little premature and the council could have held off for another few weeks to see if conditions improved in Travis and Hays counties.
“I think we can cancel this at any time,” he said. “I believe in safety and all that, but I think we might be able to wait another month and then really get a better idea on how this vaccine is getting [out to people] and everything else. Safety is still the primary concern for all of us.”