Pooler cancels Patriot Weekend due to COVID

Just weeks ahead of the planned event, the decision has been made to cancel Patriot Weekend
Published: Aug. 27, 2021 at 4:06 PM EDT
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POOLER, Ga. (WTOC) - It’s been three years since Pooler was last able to host their annual Patriot Weekend celebration.

It’s a weekend set aside to honor those who serve.

“Primarily focusing on our first responders and the veterans and the military,” said Greater Pooler Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Pam Southard.

After being canceled last year due to COVID and the year before because of weather, the Chamber had been busy planning for the return Patriot Weekend.

“Everything came together. You know, the staff worked diligently to make it happen and we were ready to go with it,” said Southard.

But sadly, there was one thing they couldn’t have anticipated, the delta variant forcing their hand just two weeks ahead of the event.

“It was a very tough decision. We talked among the staff, several health officials, the board of directors and we came to the agreement this was not the time to have gatherings of this extent,” said Southard.

Of course, cancelling an event that brings in close to 10-thousand people comes at a cost.

“People will come for the weekend activities, they’ll shop, they’ll eat. Tourists stay in Pooler for this tremendous event, so the revenue lost is huge,” Southard says.

Not to mention the loss of sponsorship money for the Chamber.

But despite those losses Southard says their priority has, and always will be, protecting those they serve.

“I want the message to get across that the Chamber, while we’re all about presenting events to the residents and tourists of Pooler, I want the message to the businesses, the residents and the visitors to say, the Chamber has to put your safety first.”

As for the future of Patriot Weekend, “bigger and better next year,” Southard says.

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