Upcoming festivals adjust to increasing COVID-19 cases

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TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — As September begins, many people are gearing up for celebrations. However, due to an increase of COVID-19 cases in Vigo County, some festivals are beginning to cancel for a second year in a row.

What was planned to be a successful first year of fundraising for the City of Wellness showcase is now postponed due to COVID-19.

Kathleen Stienstra, board member with the Maple Center for Integrative Health, says this decision is due to a spike in cases.

“The last thing we wanted to do was be a super spreader event when we’re talking about wellness, the hospitals are now as full as they have ever been. Unfortunately, the Delta virus is a game changer,” Stienstra said.

The event will be held March 19, 2022 at Rose Hulman Institute of Technology’s Mussallem Union from 9: 30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“Our hope this is will become and on-going event,” She added.

More details can be found on their website.

Agreeing with the cancellation and postponement of events is Terre Haute resident, Zhanvie Edmond. She says she is skeptical about large crowd gatherings when masks aren’t worn.

“I think it’s a little too soon to be having certain festivals, especially here in Terre Haute because of certain cases that are happening. I think in general the world does need to slow down a bit,” She said. “Here on campus is where I feel safe with a mask on.”

The Vigo County Health Department is not enforcing masks or capacity limits for any event as of now. However, they have extra staff and contact tracers on stand due to what is being called, “an anticipated spike.”

“We just ask people use their best judgment when it comes to these events. Use a mask and socially distance when possible,” Roni Elder, Health Educator with VCHD said.

After last year’s cancellation, the Blues at the Crossroad festival is set to celebrate its 20th anniversary.

Aside from providing an economic boost to downtown businesses, Event Organizer, Connie Wrin, said she hopes this event gives attendees a chance to relax.

“Over the past year and a half, we’ve really noticed the division that has happened among people. Unfortunately, it is political mostly. I think there’s a really strong need to have an event like this where people come together,” She said. ‘We could use this event to show we all like each other.”

Masks will be recommended, not required.

“We aren’t going to check your vaccination status, we just ask you be safe. We’re excited to get this event started,” Wrin added.

Blues at the Crossroads is scheduled for September 10, 11 at 677 Wabash Ave in Terre Haute.

Zoe Flores, a new resident to Terre Haute said she is excited for festivals to return. She adds environment are safer with preventative measures available.

“Depending on the person, if you want to risk it; go for it. If you have the vaccine and you feel safe, go for it. If you don’t feel comfortable taking that risk, don’t do it,” She said. “We’ve been battling this virus for over a year now, we know who is the most effected.”

When asked about the the current state of Indiana State University’s Homecoming festivities, mywabashvalley.com received this statement from the school:

“We’re tying up some details and we will be ready to talk about Homecoming next week.”

Below, is an update from Parke County Commissioner, Jim Meece, about on this year’s Covered Bridge Festival:

“At this time we are in full preparation mode to hold the 64th Parke County Covered Bridge Festival beginning October 8. We will encourage the wearing of masks where appropriate and maintaining social distancing. Hand sanitation will be readily available in multiple locations. We anticipate having a mobile testing and vaccination unit setup on the courthouse square during the event.”

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