PEI

Village Feast in Souris won't be served due to COVID-19

A summer highlight in Kings County that has raised funds for local and global projects for the past 12 years has been cancelled for 2020.

'I don't think it really comes as any surprise'

The Village Feast draws about 1,000 people to Souris every year. (The Village Feast/Facebook)

A summer highlight in Kings County that has raised funds for local and global projects for the past 12 years has been cancelled for 2020.

The Village Feast, which was scheduled for mid-July in Souris, joins a growing list of events affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chef Michael Smith, one of the driving forces behind the event, said the organizers saw it coming.

"I don't think it really comes as any surprise that in July we're not going to gather 1,000 people together," he said in an interview on CBC-Radio's Mainstreet P.E.I.

"With any luck, maybe with a bit of hope and a hard focus on science and all of that we might be back next year and let's do a steak dinner for 2,000 and we'll make up for it."

Lobster was on the menu at the 2019 Village Feast. (The Village Feast/Facebook)

The event has been able to provide funding for local food banks and family resource centres, as well as help build schools in Kenya.

"It has really come to symbolize what we as a community can do," Smith said. "We will miss that and I suspect that we'll find ways to replace that at least in a short-term sense."

Our farm is going strong. We never paused the farm we've just pivoted it​​​​​​.— Chef Michael Smith

Smith, who runs the Inn at Bay Fortune and an accompanying vegetable farm, is among the many tourism operators bracing for a tough season ahead as public health restrictions remain in place.

'Farm is going strong'

"Our farm is going strong. We never paused the farm we've just pivoted it," he said.

"We've really taken more of a market-based sort of approach, more of an approach that's going to allow us to share vegetables with the community."

Smith said he is trying to find ways to keep his staff employed over the summer.

"There's opportunities and ways to open in some odd fun way for the Island market, and in doing so, you know, honour these wonderful people that we've built into the team over the years."

More from CBC P.E.I.

With files from Mainstreet P.E.I.

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