April 28, 2009

News Release

For Immediate Release

ArtsFiesta! Postponed Due to Developing Swine Flu

A delegation from Springfield’s sister city of Tlaquepaque, Mexico has postponed its trip to Springfield this week, due to the developing swine flu cases affecting parts of the world.

“The decision has reluctantly been made to postpone the trip of both our visiting officials and mariachi group this week,” said SSCA spokesperson John Price. “We are not acting out of fear, but from our mutual concern for the welfare and peace of mind of our friends in both cities. With the announcement made by Mexican officials to close schools nationwide, we thought this was the right decision to make, especially given some of the speculations and uncertainty of what steps could be taken regarding travel restrictions between both Mexico and the United States. We in no way want to hinder our friends in Mexico from attending to their families during the school closures and this developing public health situation, or create any possibilities of exposure for our friends during air travel, or to disrupt Tlaquepaque community officials responding to this outbreak.”

This year’s annual ArtsFiesta! event in Founders Park in downtown Springfield, scheduled for Friday, May 1 also has been postponed. Efforts are being made to reschedule the event for later this summer. The mariachi band was to play at the event, at Artsfest on Historic Walnut Street, as well as a number of other public performances.

“The annual ArtsFiesta! event has become a large community-wide celebration of Mexican culture,” said Price. “We realize that postponing this event has a significant impact and we are determined to continue our Association’s mission of providing free or low-cost events and programs that celebrate cultural differences and understanding among people of this community and those of other foreign nations.”

All other events related to this weekend’s annual Artsfest event remain unaffected, including the First Friday Artwalk; Friday’s Ozark Greenway’s Bike, Bus, Walk to Work Week kickoff in the Square; and Saturday and Sunday’s Artsfest on Historic Walnut Street.

For more information, media contact: John Price, Springfield Sister Cities, (417) 343-8205; or Kevin Gipson, Springfield-Greene County Health Department, (417) 864-1655.

Springfield Sister Cities Association (SSCA)
P.O. Box 8368 • Springfield, MO 65801 • (417) 864-1191