COVID-19 outbreak cancels many summer events

Posted at 2:20 PM, May 15, 2020

As the weather warms up, so does the desire to get outside and go to concerts, parks and other community events. But the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing guidelines have already canceled many summer holiday celebrations.

"Our full season is currently canceled. That day-by-day could change if we find ourselves in August, but we’ll see. We’re paying attention to the World Health Organization and science officials to make sure we’re not recreating a problem with a large gathering," said Rick Bauer, executive director of the non-profit Tosa Tonight in Wisconsin.

Tosa Tonight hosts about 20,000 people during its summer concert season. They've had to cancel their much-loved events.

"It's disappointing. It was not an easy decision for us to make,” Bauer said. “It's hard to watch everything. I’m a music lover myself, and we're watching these events fall away right now.”

Bauer says many in the entertainment industry are calling the pandemic the "giant pause button," hoping they'll be able to hit play again next year. He says companies that provide staging, lighting and other rigging are completely out of work.

City of Fairfield, Ohio Parks and Recreation Director Tiphanie Howard says they normally put on a huge Memorial Day parade. This year, they've canceled their normal traditions and are instead bringing the parade to veterans in their community. Each resident in town who has a family member that has served in the military will be receiving a sign for their front yard.

"Then on Memorial Day, at 10 a.m., we’ll have a small parade that will go to them to honor them. So, we’ll have a couple units from the police department, fire department,” explained Howard. “We’ll have a parks department vehicle. We’ll decorate and bring the parade to them.”

Howard says their city still hasn't decided on July 4th celebrations.

"Currently, we’re hoping the fireworks will go on as scheduled,” she said. “The park we shoot them off at, we’re able to close that off at dusk and limit that traffic coming in to help with the distancing.”

Rozzi's Famous Fireworks puts on massive shows all around the world.

"We do a lot of baseball games. They’re actually one of our largest customers. Naturally, there's no baseball right now,” said Joe Rozzi, vice president of Rozzi’s Famous Fireworks. “Shows that were scheduled in May--weddings, things like that, Memorial Day events--they’ve been canceled.”

As for July 4th fireworks shows, some have canceled, and others are holding out.

"It's tough for the entertainment industry,” Rozzi said. “Fireworks are such a big part of not just the Fourth of July, but sporting events and concerts and anywhere there's a music festival. So, all of those are in limbo and a lot of people in our industry are struggling."

Rozzi is hoping that cities will still hold fireworks shows this summer as many, if launched from the right location, can still be seen from people's homes. The light show may be just what people need to brighten their summer.