City Council Vice President Joanne McKenna, who also serves as president of the Friends of Belle Isle Marsh, said that the organization’s Fall Festival, scheduled for this Sunday, has been canceled due to concerns about people potentially becoming infected by mosquitoes.
McKenna made the surprising announcement during a discussion of a motion by Councillor-at-Large Dan Rizzo that Mayor Brian Arrigo contact the Northeast Massachusetts Mosquito Control Board and request that all fields and playgrounds in Revere are treated for ticks and mosquitoes. The motion was adopted by the Council.
Rizzo said he has received complaints from people “all across the city about a real, serious mosquito problem,”
noting that there have been four times as many West Nile virus cases this year.
“It’s a really big problem and we were afraid of people getting infected by mosquitoes during the festival,” said McKenna in an interview following the Council meeting.
McKenna said other media, including Channel 5, had contacted her about Friends’ decision to cancel the event that usually draws 200-300 visitors.
Rizzo had stated in his motion that there have been four times as many West Nile virus cases in Massachusetts this year as opposed to last year.
The family-oriented festival features artists, musicians, children’s activities, and food. McKenna said that the Friends organization considered moving the event to another venue.
“We were going to hold it somewhere else, but the whole theme is about bringing people to that park,” said McKenna. “Our site supervisor at Belle Isle has to wear full gear because the mosquito infestation is so bad. I’m disappointed about the cancellation, but we will be holding a spring festival in May.”