Beardstown, Virginia cancel iconic events

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BHS Alumni Association meeting called off for only the second time; Virginia cancels BBQ plans

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While it’s forced the cancellation of major league sporting events, concerts and festivals across the country, the impact of those events is seldom felt locally.

But when you couple the extension of the governor’s stay-at home-order through the end of May, and the presence of the disease within the county’s borders, things just got a little more real.

Major Cass County events have now been cancelled or postponed.

The Beardstown High School Alumni Association meeting and banquet, the Virginia BBQ, and the Chandlerville High School Alumni banquet have all fallen victim to COVID-19.

The BHS Alumni Association meeting and banquet, a staple of Memorial Day weekend activities in Beardstown, has been postponed for only the second time in its 105-year history.

The last time the association did not hold an annual meeting was in the spring of 1943, when a record-high crest on the Illinois River threatened to inundate the town.

“This was a difficult decision to make,” said Barb Merriman, the association’s first vice president.“But given the governor’s extension of the ‘stay-at-home’ order, there’s not much we could do. “Besides, it’s kind of hard to ‘social distance’ with more than 300 other people.”

“We hope to do something when (or if) the school is able to have graduation. The whole purpose of the organization is to welcome and induct the graduating class into the association,” Merriman said.

The Virginia BBQ committee announced its decision on its Facebook page. There a statement reads, “Due to the current COVID-19 crisis, the Virginia BBQ committee has decided that the safest and best decision at this time is to cancel the 2020 Virginia BBQ. We are saddened that we had to make this decision but we feel it is the proper procedure to take this year and keep everyone safe in our community and surrounding communities. We apologize and hope you all stay safe and keep your distance.”

The Star-Gazette received an email notice from Dena Henry Leinberger Monday announcing the cancellation of the Chandlerville High School Alumni Banquet which had been scheduled for June 6. “Due to the unforeseen circumstances caused by COVID-19, the annual Chandlerville High School Alumni Banquet will be postponed. Please watch for notification of the future rescheduled date.”