Daniel Stowe Garden cancels Chinese Lantern Festival, but not directly due to COVID-19

A festival that drew hundreds of thousands of visitors on its first stop in the Charlotte region will not have an encore this year.

The popular Chinese Lantern Festival, scheduled to begin Oct. 15 in Belmont, has been canceled, Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden said Thursday in a statement.

Hanart Culture’s festival was featured at the garden in fall 2017 and attracted more than 100,000 visitors in eight weeks, according to the statement. More than 800 hand-crafted Chinese lanterns were set up on 12-plus acres in the formal gardens and public spaces, the Observer previously reported.

The festival had previously been rescheduled from August to October because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The show’s producer is based in the U.S. but depends on Chinese artists. U.S. embassies and consulate offices are closed or operating on a limited basis throughout Asia, so Hanart Culture was unable to secure visas because of “ever-changing policies,” a trickle effect of COVID-19, according to the garden.

“We had become confident in our ability to implement an incredible experience in a safe and healthy manner, but rescheduling at this time isn’t practical,” said Jim Hoffman, the garden’s interim executive director.

Ticket holders can receive a refund or receive a deal on tickets to the annual Holidays at the Garden beginning in late November. More details about this year’s event will be released soon.

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NRCC cancels $2 million in Houston-area ads

WASHINGTON – The National Republican Congressional Committee has canceled about $2 million worth of advertising it had reserved for campaigning in the Houston television market, according to several Democratic and Republican sources tracking Houston media advertising who were not authorized to discuss the issue on the record.

The Houston region is home to several contested congressional elections, including the 7th Congressional District, which is represented by U.S. Rep. Lizzie Pannill Fletcher, a Democrat. Fletcher unseated Republican John Culberson in 2018, and she is one of two Democratic incumbents who Republicans have been targeting in Texas this year.

The $2 million was intended to cover advertising in the last two weeks of the election, according to the sources.

One source, a national Republican operative, said the money has been moved to the San Antonio and Dallas-Fort Worth media markets. The San Antonio market includes parts of Congressional District 23, where Republicans are trying to hold on to a seat held by retiring U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, R-Helotes. The Dallas-Fort Worth market includes multiple districts that Democrats are trying to flip, and one district held by U.S. Rep. Colin Allred, D-Dallas, that Republicans are targeting.

The NRCC is the House GOP campaign arm. All Republican members of the House are members of the group, and most members raise money to support the ad campaigns for competitive races around the country.

Historically, the constellation of House Republican groups — the NRCC and their aligned super PACs — tend to move ad buys back and forth between media markets later into the campaign as compared to their Democratic counterparts. At the same time, these kinds of moves cost money. Television rates tend to escalate as the campaign closes in on Election Day.

This year, Texas is home to an unusually large number of congressional battlegrounds. Democrats are targeting 10 seats held by Republicans this year. Republicans are working to flip two, the seats held by Allred and Fletcher.

There is other national GOP money coming to the region. A Republican leadership aligned group, the Congressional Leadership Fund, is expected to spend about $6.25 million in Houston between media advertising and a field operation. The group’s television ad campaign is set to begin on Sept. 23.

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Connecticut Flower & Garden Show cancels February event over COVID-19 uncertainty

HARTFORD — Organizers of the Connecticut Flower & Garden Show announced Wednesday the cancellation of its February 2021 event due to uncertainty about the impact coronavirus will have over the next five months.

One of New England’s largest and most prestigious flower shows, the 40th annual show was scheduled to take place on Feb. 25-28, 2021 at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford.

“This has been a very difficult decision but we believe that, as of now, we would be unable to produce a successful Connecticut Flower & Garden Show at the Connecticut Convention Center this February,” said Kristie Gonsalves, president of North East Expos, Inc. and a past president of the National Association of Consumer Show Producers. “I want to be sure we have a safe and profitable environment for all and it would be unfair to ask attendees and exhibitors – many of them small family businesses, like mine – to jeopardize their health and financial well-being just to continue with a tradition…even this beautiful, joyful one.”

North East Expos also produces the successful Connecticut Fishing & Outdoor Show at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn. and the Northeast Fishing & Hunting Show at the Connecticut Convention Center. No decision has been made yet about the status of those 2021 shows.

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