By Arielle Alpino for The Island Eye News
The Southeastern Wildlife Exposition has announced it will not move forward with hosting its 2021 event in February. The 39th annual SEWE was originally scheduled for Feb. 11 through Feb. 14.
The SEWE staff met with its board of directors the week of Jan. 4 to assess the current state of public health and evaluate the plans and safety protocols for this year’s event, and it was collectively concluded that the February event should be canceled.
For the past 10 months, SEWE organizers have been closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic and working in tandem with the city of Charleston and local and regional agencies to develop provisional plans for a 2021 event. The team regularly consulted with the appropriate organizations to arrange an event that would align with the health and safety guidelines established by local leaders. However, with COVID-19 cases on the rise across the country, the organization faced making decisions that could compromise the safety of patrons and the integrity of the event.
“I am extremely proud of the effort demonstrated by our staff and the extended SEWE family to plan an event in these uncertain times. We knew that we faced a difficult task, but we navigated this last year by having open conversations with stakeholders and regulatory agencies,” said SEWE Executive Director John Powell. “We have been humbled by the unwavering support from our loyal attendees, corporate partners, the city of Charleston and the state of South Carolina. I believe that the spirit to persevere, despite new and daunting challenges, is what will lead us out of these times and into a more safe and prosperous future.”
SEWE will provide all patrons who purchased tickets or VIP packages with the following options:
• Ticket refund: SEWE will refund the value of VIP, general admission and Lowcountry Social tickets. Refunds are available only upon request and must be completed within 45 days of cancellation of the event. SEWE 2021 refund requests can be submitted online at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Ticket donation: The value of the purchased ticket package can be gifted to the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition as a tax-deductible donation.
Donations will help support the nonprofit’s mission to showcase the nation’s finest wildlife artists, create awareness for conservation, positively influence wildlife and nature education and impact the local and statewide economies through increased tourism.
SEWE organizers are working on opportunities to provide patrons and partners with a taste of SEWE in the fall before the event makes its official return in February 2022 for the highly anticipated 40th year celebration, Feb. 17 through Feb. 20.