D'Haese explained he had no other choice, due to corona. "We didn't take this decision lightly. It's one of the hardest decisions I ever had to take", he said, referring to the divine status that the annual event enjoys in the East-Flemish city of Aalst.
The mayor proposed an alternative: why not launch a one-time summer edition? "This would be something unique for 2021, let's try it out. It's atypical, but these are atypical times. People have a right to party. This is the social tissue, the DNA of Aalst. Whether you organise the carnival event in winter or summer, the essence is that we organise a big feast that unites us all." Another argument is an economic one. The event has a major impact on the local economy.
The mayor is proposing the last weekend of June, but not everyone is a fan. Carnival associations are surprised by the cancelling of the original event, and say that no soundings were taken from them about a new date. "We are dumbfounded. Students are in their exams and there are rock concerts such as Rock Werchter and Graspop in that period." The associations say that if the February event has to be skipped, they might as well wait one year."