JOLIET — The Joliet Public Library announced the 2021 Star Wars Day event will be canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the library's construction plans.
Star Wars Day, which started in 2010 by Joliet Public Library staff, is an event that brings over 10,000 people to downtown Joliet and features a parade of costumed characters, food and merchandise vendors, games and programs at the Library, Rialto Square Theatre and Joliet Area Historical Museum.
The large crowds that the event draws together coupled with the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic is one of the reasons that led event organizers to make the difficult decision.
"After careful consideration and conversations with our community partners in Joliet and the 501st Legion, we have decided to cancel the event for 2021," said Executive Director of the Joliet Public Library, Megan Millen. "Not only are the concerns due to COVID-19, the health of the visitors and staff and the impact on our sponsors and partners, but also because the library will be heavily under construction at the time of the event for Project Burnham."
Project Burnham is the library's plan to remodel the interior of the Ottawa Street Branch. Construction is expected to begin in March 2021. By June, much of the indoor and outdoor space used for Star Wars Day will be unavailable for public access due to construction.
"We understand this is a disappointing decision for the many fans of Star Wars Day," Millen said. "Staff and volunteers have worked tirelessly over the last 10 years to bring a fun and exciting summer event to downtown Joliet."
The library has been offering virtual programming and pickup services as well as building hours throughout the pandemic. Library administration plans to remain open to the public throughout construction.
"In 2020, we changed a lot of the ways we offer library services, from virtual programming to online library cards. Our staff and library leadership continues to monitor our services to best fit the public's needs during this time," said Millen. "We hope the fans understand that this decision was not made lightly, but with the health and safety of everyone who attends this great event in mind."
About the Joliet Public Library
The Joliet Public Library is committed to being a resource for the community to read, explore, ask and discover. For more information, visit jolietlibrary.org or call 815-740-2660.