FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The 2020 Bikes, Blues & BBQ rally in Fayetteville has been canceled, according to Executive Director Tommy Sisemore.
The rally was set to take place September 23-26.
"The board and staff made this decision out of an abundance of caution and concern for the safety and well being of our NWA community, the non-profits that we support, attendees, vendors, staff and our tireless volunteers," Sisemore told 5NEWS.
Bikes, Blues & BBQ is expected to return on September 22, 2021.
There have been many questions about this year's event due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and a spike in cases in Northwest Arkansas.
The rally normally brings around 300,000 people to the area and millions of dollars to the local economy.
For businesses already struggling due to COVID-19, this cancelation added another hurdle to getting back on track.
“That was kind of one of the lights at the end of this long tunnel,” said Cody Yancey, owner of Yancey's Dickson Street Dogs hot dog stand.
Yancey says after closing shop for the last couple of months, Bikes, Blues and BBQ gave him hope.
“That was something to look forward to, a big money-making week for me and it's another one knocked off the board that we cant do so it's tough,” he said.
It's not just food vendors who are taking a hit, the rally brings in business for all parts of our area's economy and raises thousands of dollars for local charities.
Noah Shannon and his friend rode their motorcycles from Kansas to Fayetteville Friday to ride the roads. He says he hoped to come back for the rally in September to experience Bikes, Blues and BBQ for the first time.
“A little upset because I know Fayetteville, it’s a pretty big one so I know people are pretty ticked," Shannon said.
He says from talk on social media, he feels many people might come to town that weekend anyway, even with the main event canceled.
“We had a ride up in Kansas and it was canceled but there was still over a thousand people that showed up just for the fun of it,” Shannon said.
Yancey says at the end of the day, he understands the health and safety concerns, but he did not expect the cancelation after hearing the governor's daily coronavirus briefings.
“I felt like with him nudging businesses along that Bikes, Blues and BBQ might wait a while but we would probably try to go ahead and find a way to open, but I think they made the right call probably there's so many out of town people coming in,” he said.