PITTSBURG, Kan. — A decades-long local community tradition — Little Balkans Days — has been added to the long list of events canceled this year in response to the coronavirus pandemic, organizers announced over the weekend.

"Unfortunately, because of the recent spike in COVID-19 cases, the Little Balkans Festival Association Board of Directors has made the difficult decision to cancel the festival this year," the association said in a press release.

The Little Balkans Days Festival, which had been planned for Sept. 4 through Sept. 6, 2020, typically brings vendors of all sorts, along with music and other entertainment to Crawford County to celebrate the rich culture and history of the area.

"The board struggled with the decision to cancel the festival," Angela Meyer, Little Balkans Days Festival board president, said in the release. "As much as the board wanted to continue to wait and see how events related to COVID-19 would unfold, there's simply too many dedicated, involved civic groups, vendors, volunteers and community members to wait to organize a festival of this size or take appropriate and necessary measures to keep everyone participating safe and healthy."

The festival board "deeply regrets this decision but felt it was necessary to protect the health and safety of all participating and attending the Festival," Meyer said. "The board is excited for next year to be bigger and better."

Meyer said "a very exciting musical act" booked for this year’s festival has already been rescheduled for next year.

Donations and sponsorships that have been made are planned to be held and applied as 2021 sponsorships and donations, and vendors who have paid for space at the 2020 festival can have those funds applied to their 2021 vendor spaces.

"We want to thank our sponsors and donors for their continued support," Meyer said. "We really appreciate the patience of our vendors, volunteers, sponsors, donors and community supporters during this time of changing circumstances. All of our vendors were so helpful and the area musicians who had agreed to participate were so helpful in rescheduling."