Thousands of fifth-grade students that have been rehearsing for several months for the Hope of America — a three-day extravaganza event of America’s Freedom Festival — may have to wait until sixth grade to perform it.

On Monday, the Freedom Festival announced its Hope of America program, scheduled for May 5-7 in the Brigham Young University Marriott Center has been cancelled.

“Safety is always the foremost concern at all Freedom Festival events, and we wish to do our part to keep local children and their families healthy,” according to the press release.

Jim Evans, the new executive director of the festival, said there could be bright side to the cancellation.

“For those students who wish to, the Freedom Festival invites them to join next year’s 5th graders in 2021 for a special 25th anniversary presentation,” Evans said in the release. “We will do our best to ensure no child misses the opportunity to take part in the Hope of America tradition, one of our nation’s largest and most inspiring patriotic events. We will also be refunding the $10 registration fee from this year.”

Evans added, “Hope of America is one of our community’s hallmark fixtures each year, and we understand its cancellation will come as a disappointment to the students and teachers who have worked so hard to prepare it. That being said, nothing is more important right now than keeping people safe. Hope of America’s future is bright — we’re already planning how to make next year’s event the very best ever.”

The Hope of America, is a patriotic musical performance that spans multiple evenings at each spring. Traditionally the Marriott Center is filled will parents, family and friends to see the popular production.

“We encourage students and teachers to continue to submit photos and videos of their practices,” Evans said. “We will use them for next year and on our social media pages. They will also be counted toward the Hope of America School Spirit Award.”

Daily Herald reporter Genelle Pugmire can be contacted at gpugmire@heraldextra.com, (801) 344-2910, Twitter @gpugmire

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