Update on summer event planning
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a lot of uncertainty heading into the late spring and summer months. That has been having a profound impact on many businesses, organizations and communities in general, who don’t know how long restrictions, mandated closings and social distancing will be in effect.
That impact is also being felt on the planning of annual events and activities this time of year through the Charles City Area Chamber of Commerce and Community Revitalization. Two events in April – the ChickFest retail promotion and Community Volunteer Recognition Event – have already been postponed indefinitely.
“Obviously public safety comes first,” said Community Development Director Mark Wicks. “Restrictions on gathering sizes and the need for social distancing makes it impossible to hold any public events right now. The bigger problem is how long all of this will last? A lot of time, planning and organization is needed to put together events such as Party in the Park, Whitewater Weekend and the Fourth of July Celebration. A lot of things are on hold or in limbo right now until we have a better idea of what is going to happen with the COVID-19 situation.”
He explained that this is the time of year when organizers are usually going around and securing sponsorships to make the above events possible, booking entertainment and special activities, as well as reserving things like port-a-pots and other equipment.
“Sponsorship asks are on hold as our primary concern right now is for our businesses and keeping them viable,” said Wicks. “Many of them are being seriously impacted by the mandated restrictions. They have helped support our community events in the past and now it is the community’s turn to help support them.”
He reported as of now, organizers are playing the waiting game but are still looking at the May 29, June 19, July 31 and August 14 Party in the Park dates as scheduled. If the situation dictates, one or more of those dates may be postponed and moved to later in the year.
The story is similar for the Charles City Challenge Whitewater Festival. At this time, organizers are proceeding with planning for June 27th, but have looked at alternate dates should the event need to be postponed.
The Fourth of July Celebration dates are a little more inflexible due to the holiday calendar.
“Decisions and possible modifications may have to be made as we get closer to those dates, but we’re still on as scheduled right now,” said Wicks. “We’ll keep reviewing the situation as it continues to evolve and adjust our planning as needed.”
The Charles City Farmers Market season is also scheduled to get underway on May 2nd, however the State is still discussing if they might have to be delayed and any new restrictions or requirements that may be implemented as a result of COVID-19. Wicks said the annual pre-season vendors meeting has been on hold “until we hear back from the State.”
For more information on any of the above activities, please contact the Community Development Office at (641) 228-4234 or firstname.lastname@example.org.