Cedarburg business owners say they'll create their own festival if cancelation of Strawberry Fest isn't reversed
Covid guidelines caused the festival's board to cancel Strawberry Fest. But many small business owners say that doesn't make sense because Cedarburg recently did away with its mask mandate and there continues to be progress on Covid guidelines from the CDC.
Strawberry Fest is Cedarburg's biggest moneymaker of the year, so they're fighting to get it back.
Monday night, a group of business owners got together to talk about options.
“Our hope is that the businesses can come together and work together for the community and do something and support everybody on the street,” said Michele Tietz, co-owner of Lime Cantina.
“We’re hoping to reverse the cancellation of Strawberry Fest because it is such a big deal for our business and all the other businesses in downtown Cedarburg,” said Morgan Mueler of The Shinery.
The Shinery is already out $10,000. They bought hundreds of cases to get ready for the fest.
“So this is our strawberry moonshine that we ordered for the festival. We order every year and once it’s gone, it’s gone until the next Strawberry Fest,” said Mueler.
More than 1,000 people have already signed a petition that seeks to have Strawberry Fest returned. Alex Uhan signed it. He grew up in the area.
“Empty chairs isn’t what is gonna keep these things around for much longer, and the last thing you want to see is 'for sale' signs,” said Alex Uhan, Country in the Berg organizer.
On Tuesday, Uhan went door-to-door inviting businesses to spend what would’ve been Strawberry Fest weekend holding a festival of their own called “Support Local Business Fest.”
“And I just want to be the umbrella for them to promote to people outside the city, to say hey we might not have Strawberry Fest this year but we’re gonna have something in Cedarburg,” said Uhan.
The festival's board gave us a written reply saying “it is highly unlikely that (signing a petition) will overturn the decision due to the planning process," which takes months.
The festival's board goes on to say that if other merchant-driven festivals occur the weekend of June 26, the board would be in support since their mission is to enhance the vitality of downtown Cedarburg.