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Coronavirus Concerns Force Major Event Cancellations in Houston – Eater Houston

On the heels of news that Rodeo Houston would shutter for the entire month of March, a number of food-related events and festivals are following suit.

On Thursday morning, chef Chris Shepherd announced in a statement that his Southern Smoke Spring event has been cancelled. “This was a heartbreaking decision for us to make, as we were on pace to raise more than $200,000 for the Southern Smoke Emergency Relief Fund for food and beverage industry professionals in crisis,” Shepherd said in a statement. “We know they will need the support of Southern Smoke more than ever in the coming weeks and months.”

Also cancelled is 8th Wonder Brewing’s massive Celebr8tion event, which was set for March 21. A spokesperson for the restaurant tells Eater that it will be postponed “until further notice,” and that all ticket purchases would be refunded. “We are incredibly bummed, but it’s in everyone’s best interest,” the brewery said in a statement. “Stay tuned for upcoming release dates on all the ridiculous beer we were going to tap for this big day.”

These events are just the latest food-related shindigs that have been forced to cancel or postpone due to ongoing concerns surrounding novel coronavirus. Last week, Italian food festival Taste of Italy postponed its March 30 stop in Houston. The brand-new OMG Food Fest, a “hip-hop food festival” that was set for this coming Saturday at Midtown Park, has also been postponed.

In the meantime, Shepherd is encouraging diners to donate to his Southern Smoke Foundation, which provides assistance to restaurants and service industry employees in tough times. “Our hope, as always, is to be ready to support those in the industry in crisis who are unable to work due to illness, natural disasters or other catastrophic events that render them unable to earn a living,” Shepherd said, “Houston’s robust culinary community soldiers on, and we hope that you will continue to patronize local bars and restaurants.”

Eater will be keeping track of event cancellations and restaurant closures as this situation develops. Stay tuned for more details.

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