ACS Announces 2020 Conference and Competition Cancellation

4 years ago Jasmine Romero 2 Minute(s) to read

DENVER, CO – The American Cheese Society (ACS) Board of Directors announced today that
Blazing the Trail for Cheese, the 37th Annual ACS Conference & Competition, scheduled to take
place in Portland, Oregon July 22-25 has been cancelled. After careful deliberation, the
association cites the devastating impacts of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), safety, and
prioritization of member business needs.

“ACS’ priority is the health and safety of the greater cheese community, including our members,
sponsors, volunteers, and staff,” said Marianne Smukowski, ACS president. “As the COVID-19
pandemic continues to unfold, it is clear that in the face of these heartbreaking times, that we
must make tough choices and prioritize the well-being of our attendees and their families.”

2020 marks the first time since 1983 that ACS has not held an annual educational gathering or
conference. The first event originally saw 150 attendees and has since grown to become the
industry’s premier educational experience, with over 1,300 attendees in 2019.

“We recognize the magnitude of this decision for our membership and the association,” said
Karen Lundquist, ACS executive director. “The Annual Conference & Competition brings
together so many passionate professionals each year to celebrate the very community we all
love so much. Coming together not only unifies and strengthens our ties each year but provides
opportunities and business networking so vital to individual and collective successes.”

ACS staff is prepared to provide service to conference registrants, sponsors, and certification
applicants regarding cancellation procedures, with information regarding refunds and additional
policies and FAQs available at Details on future virtual networking and
educational resources in partnership with industry leaders are expected to launch starting in the
month of May.

“Although this is a great disappointment and we will miss seeing so many of our beloved friends, 
colleagues, and business connections, we are dedicated to prioritizing that our collective
industry’s future thrives and survives this unprecedented historical moment,” Lundquist

Plans will continue for ACS to resume normal conference and competition operations in 2021. In
the meantime, ACS continues its commitment to remaining the industry leader in promoting
and supporting American artisan cheeses, with an enhanced information hub on pandemic
related business resources. The association is allied with industry organizations, cheese guilds,
and media influencers in a collective effort as it looks to a new future of collective solidarity. 

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