The 2021 John's Pass Seafood Festival at Madeira Beach is canceled due to coronavirus surge

Pier 60 Sugar Sand Festival is also on hold until further notice.

While we were all thrilled to leave the year 2020, we have not been able to shake the COVID-19 pandemic and absolute madness of last year.

Many Tampa Bay events have had to shift gears in order to adhere to state ordinances as well as CDC guidelines in regards to social distancing, crowd control and mask-wearing. For instance, Taste of the Beaches hosted in October 2020, completely reconstructed its annual event from hosting vendors in one central location to inviting attendees to purchase tasting tickets through the event's website allowing them to dine-in at participating restaurants. Talk about a pandemic pivot. 

With 2021 events beginning to rev up, organizers have been forced to revise their game plans.

One of those events is John's Pass Seafood & Music Festival. The annual event draws massive amounts of seafood enthusiasts for fresh bites and live music. The event was initially scheduled for October 2020, and then was pushed to Jan. 22-24 in hopes the pandemic would be more manageable in January. Event organizer, Vicki Kolb reached out to Creative Loafing Tampa Bay to share the announcement that the Seafood & Music Festival is canceled say that John's Pass will be hosting an Arts Weekend instead.

"Special considerations had been made to assure social distancing and less congregated areas especially in the food court area but the recent surge has created great concern and for that reason the event has been canceled," Kolb wrote in an email. 

The John's Pass Arts Weekend is set to feature 80 local artists and craftsmen and the over 100 shops, restaurants and attractions at the Pass. The family-friendly event will also host 14 food vendors, so be sure to bring dough. Keep in mind, guests are still asked to socially distance and wear masks. The event opens on Fri., Jan. 22 at 2 p.m. and will continue through the weekend until 7 p.m. on Sun., Jan. 24. John's Pass Village and Boardwalk is located at 12901 Gulf Blvd., Madeira Beach.

Another heavily attended affair, the Pier 60 Sugar Sand Festival is also canceling its 2021 event due to the pandemic. The festival hosts sand sculpture artists from far and wide to create elaborate structures while also offering free live music, fireworks, kid’s play zones, and sand sculpting classes.

"Unfortunately, due to the current restrictions on large gatherings, the Pier 60 Sugar Sand Festival is unable to take place in April," Lisa Chandler, SugarSand Festival founder and organizer wrote in a press release sent Thursday morning. "We will continue to keep you informed and look forward to creating another sandtastic' event in 2022." 

While it does sting that a handful of annual favorites are on hold, it is better than the alternative, which would put attendees and staff at risk. 

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