VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) — Organizers of an annual festival on the Virginia coast have announced that in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the three-day event scheduled for September has been canceled.

An announcement on its web page said the Neptune Festival Boardwalk Weekend, set for Sept. 25-27, was canceled for the first time in its 47-year history.

“After much discussion with our staff and leveraging the collective wisdom of our board, we have decided we cannot, in good conscience, proceed with a festival of Neptune’s magnitude during this time,” said Nancy Creech, president and CEO of the Neptune Festival. "With great reluctance, we have come to the only conclusion we feel is available to us, to skip our 2020 celebrations and move forward with developing plans to make the 2021 Neptune Festival the best ever.”

The annual festival is held at the Oceanfront each year and attracts at least 400,000 people to hear musicians on three concert stages, as well as arts and crafts, a parade, an 8K race and a sandsculpting championship.

The festival has generated over $20 million in economic impact and contributes to local development, the release said.