UTICA, N.Y. - Saranac Thursdays is an event that draws in thousands of people every Summer.
It was announced on Monday that organizers have made the decision to delay the start of the season by several weeks.
The volunteers were sent an email saying Saranac Thursdays is cancelled through July 15 due to coronavirus.
The event is a fundraiser for United Way of the Valley and Greater Utica Area and the organization will certainly be impacted by the loss of approximately two months.
"Saranac Thursday and concert series is one of our largest fundraising events," Kristyn Bucciero Beckwith, director of development and marketing at United Way of the Valley and Greater Utica Area said. "A lot of folks don’t realize that when you come to a Saranac Thursday, you’re actually supporting your local United Way."
The event is a partnership between United Way and F.X. Matt Brewery. To date, over $600,000 has been raised.
"At the end of the day, we cover our costs, but anything we make goes to the United Way and last year I think it was about $42,000," Fred Matt, President and COO of F.X. Matt Brewery said.
Beckwith says with the delay of at least two months, United Way is losing out on a lot of revenue.
“Each year we’re raising about $35,000 to $40,000 because of this event," Beckwith said. "When you think about half of the year being canceled, you can think of half of that fundraising dollar being cut.”
Beckwith says the United Way is working with the brewery to come up with new ideas to offset the loss.
“These dollars fund United Ways efforts all year round," Beckwith said. "We’re raising over a million and a half dollars every year and that’s going to support numerous agencies."
Beckwith says currently, the United Way is funding about 30 agencies and almost 50 different programs in the Mohawk Valley.
"When you think about that impact, of course that would have a direct impact on our budget and what we’re able to do so we have to make sure we’re making up for whatever those missed dollars are," Beckwith said.
As for F.X. Matt Brewery, it was a tough decision, but the right one.
“I think it’s the right thing and I think we all have to social distance and do everything the CDC says so we can get rid of this thing,” Matt said. “Obviously we’d like to open it, this is a big event for us, it’s a money maker for United Way but it’s a time we like to come and drink with our friends so for me it’s kind of sad.”
Matt is hoping for the best but preparing for the worst. He thinks there is a chance the event could not happen this year.
“I don’t know if that happens or not, obviously I’m hopeful but we will not do anything that’s not safe for us, the community, anybody that comes," Matt said. "If we can do it we will take precautions to be safe, I mean if we have to social distance we’ll figure out ways to social distance, if we have to serve beer in cans instead of off draft, obviously everybody would be wearing gloves but we have to make sure people are comfortable coming down here and we’re doing it safely.”
Beckwith says United Way is taking it day by day.
“There haven’t been too many conversations about how firm that date is," Beckwith said."Just like every other business, you kind of have to see how this thing progresses and where we are and as far as we know July 15th is the date right now but it could be longer.”