The Manito Popcorn Festival committee announced Tuesday morning that the Labor Day weekend festival has been canceled this year.


“We have to follow the guidelines that are being set by the state of Illinois,” said Popcorn Festival committee chairperson Dorothy Kreiling of state rules expected to take effect June 26 allowing gatherings of up to 50 people. “Our festival certainly has more than 50 people.”


A second major factor in the decision to cancel the Popcorn Festival was a lack of food permits, Kreiling added. The Mason County Health Department has informed the committee that, under current guidelines, no food permits would be issued.


“Without food permits, it would be hard to have a festival,” she said. “Our festival is about food and fun.”


Kreiling added that she and the rest of the committee share the community’s disappointment at the cancellation of Manito’s signature event. However, she added that the committee is taking the time to plan and bigger event for 2021, just in time for the Popcorn Festival’s 25th anniversary.


“The committee is asking (the community) to please understand this was not the easiest decision to make,” said Kreiling. “But we are not living in normal times.”