Town officials kick off the 2019 Strawberry Festival. (File photo by Greg Rickabaugh)

The S.C. Strawberry Festival will continue to be impacted by COVID-19, with no plans to invite thousands to one site, officials said.

Fort Mill Town manager Davy Broom said Monday that the pandemic is continuing to challenge planners for the annual festival, which usually includes a series of events leading up to a full weekend of activities, vendors and music at Walter Elisha Park. And while there are plans to put on some smaller events safely, there probably won’t be the bigger event.

“It does not appear we will be able to bring in several thousand people to one site,” Broom said at Monday’s town council meeting.

Full details are expected at the next council meeting. A festival website says the event is scheduled for Friday, April 23, 2021 – Saturday, May 1, 2021. But the website also says to check back later for event details.

The pandemic will not allow for the town to invite big crowds to Walter Elisha Park in 2021. (File photo from 2019 festival)

Last year, the town turned the event into a virtual festival with creative ideas such as a Strawberry Idol Singing Contest, Art Contest, Virtual Strawberry Bingo and a Virtual Scavenger Hunt. The 2020 event also featured messages from Strawberry Queens with a spotlighted on Fort Mill’s downtown merchants, previous festival sponsors and vendors.

But the annual festival was mostly scrapped due to the sudden COVID-19 crisis.

This month, renovations continue to the Walter Elisha Park to add an amphitheater, improve parking, add restroom facilities and make other site improvements to the existing trails, site lighting, landscaping and more.

On Monday, Broom said the project ran into problems and is currently $186,000 over budget, with most of that arising from rerouting an 8-inch water main and hauling away debris.