48th annual Iola Car Show canceled amid pandemic: 'It is the only responsible option'

IOLA, Wis. --  The organizers of the Iola Car Show and Swap Meet announced on Tuesday, May 12 that the 48th annual edition of the show has been officially canceled amid the coronavirus pandemic.

A statement on the cancellation was posted on the car show's website. It reads as follows:

"It is with a heavy heart that I have the unfortunate duty of announcing the cancellation of the 2020 Iola Car Show and Swap Meet.  After careful deliberation, and with the best information available at this time, the Board of Directors and Iola Car Show Team have made this decision feeling it is the only responsible option.

"The monumental task of producing this world-class event is heavily dependent on the thousands of volunteers who aid in this effort.  We simply cannot produce the show without the ability to ensure the safety, confidence, and comfort of all involved – and everyone’s safety is our top priority.  It is also impossible to predict what measures and mandates may be relaxed or removed by the time of the show.

"We fully recognize that the loss of this event will put many of the 130 organizations who depend on our show for financial support, and Iola Old Car Show, Inc. itself in a very difficult financial position.

"Furthermore, we are very aware that many of our swap vendors, who are a cornerstone of the event, have had much of their season of commerce fully disrupted if not destroyed.  It is for that reason that we have now shifted gears from preparing for the 48th Annual Iola Car Show event into preparation for alternative festivities."

While the traditional show is canceled, organizers say they are only postponing the swap meet and flea market features of the event at this time. They hope as the summer progresses, they will be able to select dates that allow their swap vendors and shoppers the opportunity to gather and do business later this summer or fall. Those dates will be selected as more information becomes available.