La Fete de Marquette (Photo: John D. Ivanko / FLYING COLORS Drone Cinematography+Photography)

The Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center and Willy Street Co-op have announced today that the annual La Fete de Marquette, scheduled for July 9-12, has been canceled for the safety of attendees and staff members who would work the event.

“We are committed to making sure we’re able to take care of the people we serve during this pandemic so we’re going to have to rely on community support in other forms,” said Gary Kallas, executive director of the Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center, in a statement.  “We’re going to be launching an online giving campaign, and we hope that the people who would buy a raffle ticket or spin the wheel or buy a drink at Fete will consider showing their support in this new way. The people we serve rely on it.”

The decision to cancel the event benefiting the Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center was made after a review of the state’s COVID-19 plan, discussions with local officials, and consultation with Willy Street Co-op, which is the presenting sponsor, according to a press release. La Fete de Marquette is Wil-Mar’s largest fundraiser which helps support several life-building programs including emergency food services, after school and summer camps for kids, teen employment, meals and fitness services for seniors, and subsidization of mental health services.  La Fete de Marquette has raised over $1.2 million in the last 14 years since its conception.

Willy Street Co-op has pledged to repurpose money it would have used to sponsor this event to instead help support the giving campaign.