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COVID-19 pressures city to shutter largest annual event that would have brought almost 20,000 visitors

PMG FILE PHOTO - The Gresham Arts Festival would have drawn almost 150 artists from around the region into downtown. The city of Gresham has made the difficult decision to shutter its largest community event of the year — officially announcing the cancellation of the 2020 Gresham Arts Festival.

The decision was delayed as long as possible in case the global situation changed, but the event had to be canceled to follow Gov. Kate Brown's orders that no events or festivals can take place through September. Many other regional events have also been canceled, making for a dull summer.

"While this decision saddens us, as we truly love bringing the community together to celebrate art, the health and safety of our residents must come first during this unprecedented time," a statement from the city read.

The Gresham Arts Festival usually brings more than 20,000 visitors to East Multnomah County, and represents a massive influx of customers to local businesses. This year more than 140 artists were on the docket, including painters, potters, sculptors, woodworkers, photographers, jewelers and more.

The festival also would have had live music, a break dance competition and Kids Zone throughout the heart of downtown Gresham. The event has also had a tradition of taking on a Guinness World Record — claiming five in the last half decade. In 2019, participants made 1,064 origami turtles for a Guinness honor.

If you want to reconnect with a local artist you have met during a past Gresham Arts Festival, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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