2020 Onset Cape Verdean Festival canceled due to coronavirus

Apr 28, 2020

The 18th Annual Onset Cape Verdean Festival has been canceled due to the coronavirus. 

The annual festival celebrating Cape Verdean culture and heritage was scheduled for August 8 of this year. Last year, the festival brought thousands to Onset, and included live music and over 80 vendors, 15 of which sold traditional Cape Verdean food.

The Onset Bay Association shared a message from the Onset Cape Verdean Festival Association on Facebook on April 27. 

The message explained that the board that organizes the festival each year decided to cancel this year’s event for safety reasons because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

A representative from the Onset Cape Verdean Festival Association wrote “We Thank all of those who support us, volunteer, and donate and just come out to enjoy a beautiful event. We will God willing, be ready for August 2021. So from the Onset Cape Verdean Festival Association, we would love to wish you all a safe and blessed 2020. Please practice social distance and stay safe. Obligado!”

Tiny Lopes, one of the festival’s founders, said that board members decided to cancel this year’s festival after determining that safety could simply not be ensured due to the pandemic.

Lopes explained that the festival attracts 12,000 to 15,000 people each year, and many guests come from across the country. 

“We knew from a travel point of view that it was going to be difficult,” he said. Lopes is a Wareham native, but now lives in California. 

Lopes added that despite the cancellation, the Onset Cape Verdean Festival Association will still award eight $1,000 scholarships to Wareham High School seniors. He added that scholarship recipients will be announced within the next couple weeks.