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COVID-19 concerns dash festival plans for second year in a row; hopes are to hold the Holiday Festival on Dec. 4.

COURTESY PHOTO: BLUELINE STUDIOS - This years Robin Hood Festivals Maid Marian, Anna Phillips, knights a loyal subject. The annual festival set for Sept. 24 and 25 has been canceled over COVID-19 concerns.For the second year in a row, Sherwood's Robin Hood Festival has been canceled. The announcement was made Thursday evening by the Robin Hood Festival Association.

"After several weeks of monitoring the dire COVID-19 situation around our state, the Sherwood Robin Hood Festival Association Board has decided to cancel the 2021 Sherwood Robin Hood Festival," Ron Groeger Jr. wrote in a press release. "It is with heavy heart that we have had to cancel the festival but thinking about the health and welfare of our friends, family, and our city, this is the right choice."

The festival, which is traditionally held in July, was moved up to Sept. 24 and 25 in anticipation that many of the restrictions tied to the COVID-19 pandemic would be lifted. That didn't happen due to an increase in the delta variant of the disease.

The announcement comes on the heels of the cancelation of the Cruisin' Sherwood car show, which had been planned for Aug. 28.

Robin Hood Festival activities are generally set for sites in Old Town Sherwood with an annual archery contest with Nottingham, England, held offsite. While the two archery teams don't meet in person, they send each a list of their respective scores after each has finished.

This will be only the fourth time since the Robin Hood Festival started in 1954 that it's been canceled. In addition to last year, the festival was canceled in 1978 due to lack of volunteers and in 1986 due to concerns over rising insurance costs to put on the event.

Festival organizers are hoping they can hold their annual Holiday Festival set on Dec. 4.

"We are very hopeful that we will be able to provide our annual Holiday Festival safely, without interruption, and that we can come together as a community for some fun to start the holiday season," Groeger Jr. wrote.

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