City of Akron cancels Rib, White and Blue Festival amid concerns over protests

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The city of Akron is canceling its annual Rib, White and Blue Festival in the wake of a protest following the fatal shooting of a Black man by Akron police officers.

Activists gathered in front of the Akron Police Department headquarters Thursday morning to protest the death of Jayland Walker, who was shot dead by police officers early Monday after a car chase.

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The protest disrupted traffic flow on South High Street after activists fanned out to block the road. The city announced it would close the street until Tuesday.

The city and other organizations are opting to cancel and postpone several Downtown events in anticipation of escalating tension.

“I completely understand that some residents and guests will be disappointed by the decision to cancel the festival this holiday weekend," Horrigan said in a written release. "Independence Day is meant to be a celebration and a time of gathering with friends and family. Unfortunately, I feel strongly that this is not the time for a city-led celebration.”

The annual rib festival was slated to run Friday through Monday. It would have been the festival's first year back since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Events at Lock 3 Park were cancelled through the weekend. It was not immediately clear whether the city's planned holiday fireworks displays would proceed as scheduled Monday.

Downtown Akron Partnership also posted on social media that it was postponing Thursday's events, including Happy Hour on Main, Pilates on the Plaza and Line Dancing on the Plaza.

This story will be updated.

Reporter Abbey Marshall is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. Learn more at Contact her at at

This article originally appeared on Akron Beacon Journal: Akron cancels Rib, White and Blue Festival after police shooting