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Handshake Promise entertains at the 2019 Phil Campbell Hoedown. This past year’s stage was silent as the annual festival fell to the ongoing pandemic.

Coronavirus cancels PC Hoedown

Every year people travel to Franklin County to enjoy the Phil Campbell Hoedown, but this year will be different, as the Hoedown has been cancelled because of the COVID-19 virus.

Phil Campbell Mayor Steve Bell said it was not an easy decision to cancel the Hoedown this year, but he feels like he and the city council made the right decision.

“We chose to err on the side of caution and make sure to keep everyone safe,” Bell said.

Bell said several factors went into deciding to cancel the event, such as the ability to maintain social distancing and that the event brings people from so many different areas.

“There were some people that you would only see once a year, and that was at the Hoedown,” Bell said. “It really brought a lot of people from out of county, and we decided it would be best to not bring in so many new people.”

Bell said the logistics of the event also played a role, as it would be difficult to secure vendors on such last-minute notice.

“We went until right at the last minute with making a decision, and we finally just decided it wasn’t possible to get everything done,” Bell said.

Bell said he hopes to have activities later on in the year, but he knows they will not be able to match the level of excitement associated with the Hoedown.

Voicing a sentiment likely shared by many, Bell said he is going to miss hosting the Hoedown, especially being able to socialize with all of the people in town.

“Other than the school and sports, that was the thing that brought everyone together,” Bell said. “It was common ground.”

Phil Campbell City Magistrate Jenny Burks said she is going to miss the community coming together for the Hoedown.

“It’s sad we aren’t going to be able to have it,” Burks said. “I know for a lot of people it is something that we look forward to every year, and it’s a chance for us to all come together.”

The virus has changed traditions and the idea of “normal” across the world, but Bell said he knows the community will be stronger because of it.

“We look forward to, once all of this is behind us, getting back to normal – a new normal,” Bell said.

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