The annual Penrod Arts Fair, which for more than 50 years has served as the unofficial kickoff of the fall arts season in Indianapolis, has been canceled this year due to health concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The one-day fundraiser for local arts organizations and other not-for-profit groups typically draws 20,000 attendees and hundreds of artists and performers to the grounds of the Newfields complex at 38th Street and Michigan Road.
“The difficult decision to cancel is driven by our responsibility to protect the health and safety of the thousands of patrons, artists, and volunteers that attend our fair annually,” according to a Tuesday media release from The Penrod Society, which organizes the festival.
This year’s fair was scheduled for the morning and afternoon of Saturday, Sept. 12. The Evening With Penrod, event scheduled for Sept. 11 at Newfields, also has been canceled.
Founded in 1967, the Penrod Arts Fair has distributed more than $5 million in proceeds to Indiana-based organizations, including more than $200,000 raised from the 2019 fair.
Penrod officials said in the media release that they were acutely aware of how canceling the fair would eliminate an opportunity for local artists and arts groups to promote themselves.
“The Penrod Society is committed to finding alternative means to support our artists and related non-profits for the 2020 year,” according to the release. “Our plans will be rolled out in the coming months.”