EDMONDS, Wash. — For the first time in its 38-year history, today Taste Edmonds was canceled.
This event was the saving grace for the Edmonds Chamber of Commerce.
“Some of my best friends from growing up have dubbed it ‘Kels-mas’ because it’s like Christmas for me,” said Edmonds resident Kelsey Foster.
She has gone to Taste Edmonds for 30 years.
“Taste Edmonds has always been one of my favorite events of the entire summer,” she said.
The chamber canceled its 4th of July celebration this year. Now Taste Edmonds is the latest casualty in events stopped due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Gov. Jay Inslee’s ban on live entertainment and large gatherings until phase four of the plan to reopen the state was the last straw.
“Most people expected that it wouldn’t happen, but I think there’s a lot of people in the community who are sad with the news,” Foster said.
The Edmonds Chamber of Commerce is responsible for most of the city's big events, including a holiday tree-lighting ceremony, a charity golf fundraising event and a classic car show.
Taste Edmonds draws in nearly 40,000 people. The event is one of the main sources of funding for the Chamber of Commerce.
“Without the Taste, it does kind of put the chamber in jeopardy,” Foster said.
“We had really high hopes 2020 and obviously that is not going to happen,” said Rob Schwertley, Edmonds Chamber Board Member.
With the Chamber’s future is up in the air, they’ve put together a fundraiser to save the organization.
“The ‘Edmonds Kind of Hero' campaign. It has a fundraising goal of $100,000,” Schwertley said.
In just a few weeks they’ve received over $35,000 in donations but need to hit that goal to save the chamber and the beloved events that put Edmonds on the map.
“The support so far has really been tremendous in the community,” Schwertley said.
Losing the chamber could have a big effect on the city of Edmonds, Foster said.
“For the community-at-large, it means losing the beloved events that make Edmonds so special.”