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Akron's Rib, White, & Blue canceled, streets closed due to expected protests over police shooting

photo of Akron rib fest
Kabir Bhatia
Mayor Dan Horrigan has canceled this weekend's Rib, White, & Blue festival scheduled to return for the first time since before the pandemic. In a statement, he said this was not a time for a city-led celebration. The cancellation follows the police shooting of an Akron man following a car chase earlier in the week.

Akron is shutting down streets downtown and canceling events through the holiday weekend as protests continue over the death of Jayland Walker who was shot and killed by police earlier this week.

The city has closed South High Street and some surrounding streets in the downtown area in the wake of ongoing protests in the area. It's advised that more closures are possible.

Summit County offices, including the court house and sheriff’s office, will be open but with limited hours on Friday and Tuesday according to a news release from the county. Akron Municipal Court canceled all proceedings for Friday, advising that anyone with scheduled proceedings would be contacted by their assigned courtroom next week.

Mayor Dan Horrigan's office released a statement that the Rib, White, & Blue festival at Lock 3 this weekend has been canceled and encouraged anyone planning on attending this weekend to find other weekend plans. The festival, which last took place in 2019, had been canceled for the last two years due to the pandemic. The mayor said “I completely understand that some residents and guests will be disappointed by the decision to cancel the festival this holiday weekend. 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.” Horrigan added that vendors and musical acts will be compensated accordingly.

The Akron Rubber Ducks are on the road for the next several days but are scheduled to be back home at Canal Park for a game on July 4th with fireworks to follow. As of late Thursday afternoon, the team said the game and fireworks were still on.

The closures and the cancellations in Akron come amid growing protests over the death of 25-year-old Jayland Walker. He died after police shot him early Monday following a car chase. Akron Police are expected to release bodycam footage in the coming days.

Anna Huntsman covers Akron and Canton for Ideastream Public Media.