TUSK: The Ultimate Fleetwood Mac Tribute Band played at the 2019 Fourth of July celebration at Ariel-Foundation Park.

MOUNT VERNON – The Foundation Park Conservancy announces that, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is canceling its 2020 free summer concert series, including three Movie Mondays and the scheduled Aug. 22 Rastin Challenge for First Responders.

“We understand and share the frustration many are feeling right now. However, we have to put safety first and observe public health recommendations for social distancing,” said Events Committee Chair Sam Barone.

“Many factors contributed to the Board making such a difficult decision at this point in time, including looming contractual deadlines with bands, concerns about maintaining social distancing in the Schnormeier Event Center, and the inevitable congestion in concession lines and restrooms. We believe attempting to manage these public health risks is not prudent at a time when our community faces far more critical challenges and risks associated with restarting our local economy,” Barone added.

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“We look forward to hosting a community celebration of Ariel-Foundation Park’s fifth anniversary when the time is right, and are pleased that all of our 2020 concert artists have rescheduled with the park for our 2021 season.”

Deciding to cancel the annual Rastin Challenge for First Responders was a particularly difficult decision to make, according to Melanie Bolender, committee chairperson.

“We so want to thank and honor our first responders, especially now, but cannot offer the event in a safe way," she said. "Additionally, we would be uncomfortable asking small businesses to sponsor the event given the difficult financial trials so many are facing.”

Activities that will take place, as long as park visitors observe social distance guidelines, include sunset bagpipe concerts around central lake on Sunday evenings, starting June 7, at 8:30 p.m., and a limited offering of summer physical fitness programs outdoors and at the Schnormeier Event Center, starting as soon as permitted.

Watch www.arielfoundationpark.org or the park’s Facebook page for more info as it becomes available.

In compliance with the Emergency Management Response and the Health Department, the following is the park’s current level of service to the public: Ariel-Foundation Park will remain open as usual, but Park National Bank Pavilion, Kiwanis Pavilion, Rastin Tower, and Urton Clock House Museum will remain closed.

Also, no public park events will be approved until large group gatherings are allowed by the State of Ohio. Park restrooms are open and will be disinfected two to three times daily. Food trucks will be available at the park periodically.

The Conservancy wishes to thank its summer concert series sponsors who have graciously continued their financial support of the park this year to assist with capital improvements in the Event Center and limited programming.

Those sponsors include Platinum Level – Knox Community Hospital, Knox County Foundation, Mount Vernon News, Park National Bank, and WMVO/WQIO; Gold Level – Critchfield, Critchfield & Johnston, Griffin Insurance, KnoxPages, Ohio Rental, and Gordy and Fran Yance; Silver Level – Dr. Allan Bazzoli, Delta Dental, Domino’s Pizza, Brian Howe Family Dentistry, Kenyon College, LeFurjah Family Fund, Mortellaro McDonald’s, Southside Diner, and White Castle; Bronze Level – Brenneman Lumber, Derr Designs, Mid-Ohio Powersports, and Gary and Carolyn Gray.