Decision on moving the contest made by directors of participating choirs, not by the fair board

By JESSICA BRICKER

The schools scheduled to perform in this year’s choral contest at the Bluffton Free Street Fair instead competed in Fort Wayne Thursday evening.

Citing “circumstances beyond our control,” Street Fair officials made the cancellation announcement Thursday afternoon on social media.

“The majority of the choral directors involved have taken it upon themselves to move their performances to another site in Fort Wayne. The directors had preconceived concerns about the weather,” the release said. “It was our hope and desire to have this annual contest take place on our stage to entertain our community.”

Rick Elwell, a Street Fair director who is the co-chair for entertainment and has been involved in the choral contest since 1997, said the choral directors from the participating schools decided Thursday morning to relocate the performances to Northrop High School.

In a late morning post on the Northrop Show Choir Facebook page, program officials said they had a “quick announcement” about the Street Fair competition scheduled for later in the day.

“The competition has been moved to the Northrop auditorium, due to the weather forecast for the night,” the post said. “This means that we won’t all get soaked and that we don’t have to travel as far to cheer our kids on.”

The post added they were seeking volunteers to help with the relocated event.

The contest apparently followed the same schedule planned for the Street Fair; the Northrop program posted the fair’s schedule of performances under the title “Bluffton Street Fair Show Choir Contest.”

Schools planning to participate were Jay County, Northrop, East Noble, Churubusco, Garrett and Northridge.

The contest is a large draw to the fair each year with the stage area usually packed with people.

The cancellation left a hole on the fair schedule following Thursday’s industrial parade. The rain held off all evening.

“We apologize,” the Street Fair statement Thursday afternoon concluded. “We are equally disappointed.”

The weather ended up being cold, but completely rain free.

jessica@news-banner.com