Friends of Historic Boonville made the difficult decision Tuesday to cancel the 45th annual Missouri River Festival of the Arts.


"In the interest of public safety, we could not in good conscious have people confined in such close proximity to each other," Friends Director Laura Wax said in a news release. "Due to the the set-up of the theater, social distancing cannot be safely maintained. We are already working on something special for the Missouri Bicentennial for August 2021."


The festival, originally planned Aug. 27-29, is oldest the performing arts festival in the state of Missouri and is held in the oldest theater in continuous use west of the Allegheny Mountains — Thespian Hall, according to the Friends website.


Conversations already are underway to welcome what were to be this year’s planned musicians back for the 2021 event.


Those wishing to continue to support Friends of HIstorical Boonville can do so through a Paypal link on the Friends website, calling the office at 660-882-7977 or emailing fohboonville@gmail.com.