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Omaha Summer Arts Festival will not take place for the first time in 46 years

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The Omaha Summer Arts Festival will not take place this year for the first time in 46 years, the director of the event said.

Vic Gutman said discussions with the Douglas County Health Department and the City of Omaha made it clear that the festival shouldn’t take place because of the COVID-19 outbreak. The arts festival was scheduled for June 5-7.

Gutman said he had 135 artists lined up from three dozen states to show their items at the festival this year.

Gutman said he intended to hold a virtual arts festival on June 6 in which some of the music will be provided through an online service and people will be able to buy art online from participating artists. Details are being worked out, he said.

Information will be posted at summerarts.org as it becomes available.

“It’s disappointing, but you know in the landscape of what’s happening in the United States and the world now, it doesn’t compare,” Gutman said of canceling the event.

Gutman, 68, is the founder and executive director of the arts festival. The event has gone on “even during horrible storms,” but the streak of consecutive festivals must end, he said.

The three-day event typically draws 60,000 to 80,000 visitors. It has been held in various spots, including the Old Market, but last year and this year it was to be near TD Ameritrade Park because of the rebuilding of the Gene Leahy Mall.

The event will take place in 2021 in the same vicinity of north downtown, he said.

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