RetroFest heads online for 2021


RetroFest is switching to virtual this year.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, the Historic Downtown Chatham BIA opted to run the classic car festival online this year rather than in person.

Last year, the pandemic cancelled the event all together.

Organizers said they are following recommendations of the municipality and public health.

As a result, there will be a Live Stream Cruise and Car Show May 21 and 22.

The BIA is teaming up with several partners to produce a multi-social media event in an effort to connect the community with downtown Chatham businesses and RetroFest sponsors with an interactive online celebration, all while remaining safe and Covid-19 compliant.

The BIA’s Connie Beneteau said the BIA looked at several options before opting to go virtual.

“We looked at the possibility of moving it to September, but we had no idea if it would still be able to be run then,” she said, given all the unknowns associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. “We wanted to keep the same date, so we looked at virtual options.”

“Instead of a car show downtown, registration and the car show lineup will be on social media on our Facebook page,” Beneteau added.

She said Saturday will feature more information and will stream “some of the more interesting vehicles” online.

The hope is the stay-at-home order works and COVID-19 numbers drop across the province enough for the Ford government to lessen restrictions.

“If we go back to Red (Zone), we can allow 50 people to gather outdoors. Then we can have a band at an undisclosed private location and live stream it,” Beneteau said.

If that can’t happen, then much of the event will simply be pre-recorded and streamed May 21 and 22.

Junior Judges, Ms. RetroFest competition, and other elements will return this year, along with the Live Stream Cruise Party, Car Show and awards.

There will be activities from May 1 up to and including the RetroFest weekend.


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