DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — WGI Sport of the Arts announced the cancellation of in-person events for the 2021 season, which includes the annual WGI World Championships hosted each April in Dayton.
“Unless something radical was to change, for the health and wellness of our participants, this seems to be the only option for us,” said Chief Executive Officer Ron Nankervis.
2021 would have marked the 43rd annual WGI World Championships and 34th year out of 43 years the event was hosted in Dayton.
“Despite this disappointment, our role as a global leader in the marching arts has never been more critical,” said Nankervis. “We had hoped to use this upcoming season as a beacon of healing after the abrupt and challenging end to the 2020 season. Still, after numerous discussions with local and state health officials, our top priority remains to ensure the health and well-being of all our participants and patrons.”
WGI plans to offer a virtual competitive and non-competitive events to keep those who participate engaged and motivated in the absence of in-person events.
“I have followed more health bulletins than I care to admit, barring the development of a vaccine or any intricate therapeutics that are in development, it just seems like the time frame doesn’t work,” said Nankervis.
“The WGI World Championships is our community’s largest convention or event. In April 2019, collectively over nine days in a two-week period, the events generated an estimated $24,705,000 in direct spending economic impact for the region,” said Jacquelyn Powell, president and CEO of the Dayton Convention and Visitors Bureau.
“There are more things in this world that are truly tragic, but this is a tragic situation for those kids too,” said Nankervis.