DECATUR, Ill. (WAND) - Decatur Celebration Inc. has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, organizers said. 

Leaders reflected on the organization's history, which spanned for over 30 years, and the impact of pandemic closures in a letter to the Decatur community. They talked about how the staff was preparing in March 2020 for a big 35th year Decatur Celebration festival, which they believed would be "our best production thus far," when the pandemic hit. 

They monitored the situation and the 2020 Decatur Celebration was eventually canceled. 

"This decision was difficult, but we were confident and even more so now that it was the right decision for everyone’s health and safety," the organization said. "As we shared with you back in April 2020 and November 2020, the financial ripple effect of COVID-19 could be detrimental. We knew that many organizations – not for profit and for profit – would be struggling for months and Decatur Celebration Inc. has continued to do so." 

Leaders said they have been transparent about financial struggles during the pandemic and efforts to minimize overhead costs. They said they met with local entities with the hope to creating a "mutually beneficial partnership" to keep the organization running. 

Those efforts were unsuccessful. 

"So, it is with a heavy heart, we announce that Decatur Celebration Inc. has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and thus produced its final street festival, French Fried 5K and Scream Haunted House," the letter said. 

The full letter from the organization is attached to this story. 

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