WINDSOR, ONT. -- The increasing number of COVID-19 cases and the most recent provincial stay-at-home order has led to the cancellation of the popular Art in the Park for a second year.

Traditionally, Art in the Park kicks off the summer festival season with hundreds of exhibitors and vendors from across the region.

“Windsor’s Art in the Park is recognized as one of the best outdoor cultural events that residents look forward to each year to kick off the summer festival season,” said Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens. “Given the ongoing fight against the third wave of COVID-19, I thank the Rotary Club of Windsor (1918) for making the tough call to postpone this fundraiser for another year. It’s the best decision for our community as we continue to follow all public health measures to keep everyone safe."

The Rotary Club had been planning on going ahead with this year’s art in the park, with plans for a cashless festival and a mandatory mask policy.

A news release from the club says the past 14 months have been challenging for many, and had hoped to be able to keep the event going for residents to look forward to, but had to make the “difficult and disheartening decision” to once again cancel.

"Everyone in Windsor-Essex looks forward to Art in the Park. Cancelling Art in the Park two years in a row will have a profound effect on The Rotary Club of Windsor's finances and the good that we do in this community and around the world,” said president Gerry Pocock. “However, our membership is strong, resilient and resourceful and we will weather this horrific storm and look forward to the future, when once again Willistead Park will be teeming with people on the first weekend in June."

Over its more than 42 year run, the volunteer, charity run event has raised $1.3 million for the restoration of Willistead Manor and around $2.1 million to support local and international Rotary Club of Windsor efforts.

“We are so thankful to be part of the strong community of Windsor-Essex and for the efforts of the City of Windsor to try and help make this event a success, despite COVID-19,” said Art in Park executive director, Jodi Ouellette. “We look forward to meeting again with the sun shining on our Annual Art in the Park event.”