Coronavirus: As canceled summer events leave void, some still hold out hope, New Carlisle columnist writes

Ross Conrad sits on the shoulders of his father, David, as they wait in line at a food truck during the Springfield Rotary Gourmet Food Truck Competition.

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Ross Conrad sits on the shoulders of his father, David, as they wait in line at a food truck during the Springfield Rotary Gourmet Food Truck Competition.

It is not easy.

Being in charge of a large festival, event or venue and having to make “the” decision of opening within COVID-19 rules or not is difficult.

Right now the list of events that have thrown in the towel is much longer than the list of events that are still stubbornly holding on and hoping for a miracle.

Ever since St. Patrick Day we’ve watched as event after event has had to be canceled. Organizers will tell you they didn’t want to, but they pretty much didn’t have a choice. And they didn’t. Really.

Some events like the Summer Arts Festival and Night at the Museum just could not happen with social distancing. Apple Butter Festival organizers spoke of that distancing issue plus the limited number of volunteers who could help this year with the virus threat. The Gourmet Food Truck Competition was the most recent to cancel.

However one public pool will open this summer. The New Carlisle Pool announced Tuesday that they will be officially opening later next week. Manager April Lowry is finishing up the final details. It has not been easy but it is believed that they can follow the virus fighting guidelines and still provide the needed recreational opportunity.

READ: Clark County animal shelters resume public operations

Lowry feels that it is important to give the community a safe way to cool off during the heat of the summer. She asks people interested in swimming to follow the New Carlisle Pool Facebook page. It is the only site on the Internet that has the official information. The official opening date will be on this Facebook page before any others.

Other good news this week (And oh we did need some good news, didn’t we?) was the status of the Clark County Fair. I was so happy to hear that the Clark County Fair chose downsizing to cancellation.

This year only the Jr. Fair and the showing of 4H projects and animals will take place. There will be no midway, no rides, no bright lights, but the heart of the fair will be going on. I think A.B. Graham would be proud.

Even at a time of crisis, no, especially at a time of crisis, the lessons learned by 4H participants must continue. The farming must go on. Educating the next generation to be doers, and self sufficient must go on.

Organizers say they can do it and I think the positive obstacle-challenging attitude of 4H participants will make it happen while following whatever guidelines we have at the end of July.

Two big festivals are still hanging on in Clark County.

The Fair at New Boston has not been canceled. Co-Fairmasters Tom Rumpke and Helen Miller have adopted a wait and see attitude. First of all they are watching as state guidelines change almost weekly.

“We don’t know what might change in July,” said Rumpke.

One thing that will cause big problems is if the state continues to not issue liquor licenses for events and keeps a limit on size of crowds.

READ: Heritage Commission designs social distancing activity

Since the Fair at New Boston is held on Clark County Park District property at George Rogers Clark Park, the Fair at New Boston has to abide by the decision of the Clark County Park Board.

Although hiking and fishing are still allowed in the parks, all district sponsored events are canceled until Aug. 31. The Fair at New Boston is scheduled for Sept. 5 and 6, 2020.

The George Rogers Clark Heritage Association which presents the Fair at New Boston will meet on July 15 for a final decision. The News Sun will let you know as soon as the decision is make.

The huge three-day Heritage of Flight Festival in New Carlisle is currently scheduled for the first weekend of October.

“We will not cancel unless we absolutely have to,” said Lowry who is also on the Heritage of Flight Festival Committee.

Lowry said that some parts of the festival that has visitors close together like the car show may not be able to happen, but other parts might be adaptable to the guidelines. They are watching the evolving state and county guidelines carefully as they make decisions.

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The feeling seems to be that having part of the festival is better than cancelling the entire three day long extravaganza. The unique set up of this festival that has different activities the entire length of Main Street might make a partial festival possible.

“If we can somehow do it, we are going to do it,” said Lowry.

It seems to me that the remaining festivals, fairs, and venues that remain open need our support to make it happen. Now is the time to support venues and businesses that are still open.

It is also time to volunteer to keep the programs, festivals, and events we love to stay open for the summer.

Our calendars are empty folks. It feels strange to many of us to actually have time on our hands.

So this summer is the time to volunteer. If these last remaining events get canceled because there are not enough volunteers to put them on, please do not complain if you didn’t volunteer to help.

They are called community events for a good reason. Don’t forget we are in this - all of this - together.

Keep smiling and soaking in that sunshine.

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