Local festivals and events canceling again due to COVID-19

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CHARLOTTE (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) — There were hopes for a change this year; people getting vaccinations, the prospect of life getting back to normal, and the chance to get out on the town.

But this year, it’s not happening just yet.

“I’ve seen a lot of people compare Pride to the Panthers,” said Matt Comer, with Charlotte Pride. “If the Panthers can have a football game, why can’t Pride have a parade? A football game is not the same type of event.

Earlier this year, Charlotte Pride had planned for larger in-person events, spread out over the course of a few months in case any coronavirus restrictions were still in effect.

Those events slowly started getting postponed, and now, everything is getting reworked.

“We’ll still have smaller-scale, in-person events. We know it is relatively safe to gather with your friends and family outside on a bar patio, or your backyard or living room,” said Comer.

Charlotte Pride is not the only one dealing with a change of plans. Lincoln County’s Apple Festival just canceled their festivities entirely.

“It’s a lot of work to unravel a festival,” said Carole Howell, executive director for the Lincoln Co. Apple Festival.

Organizers for both events said that safety concerns related to the pandemic were the driving factor in their decisions.

Both events were also affected last year.

In a statement, the city of Lincolnton said:

“The joint City of Lincolnton and Lincoln County Public Safety Committee has determined that the public resources necessary to safely produce the Lincoln County Apple Festival are not available. The Safety Committee includes the Lincolnton Fire Department, Lincolnton Police Department, Lincoln County Emergency Services, and the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department.

The festival requires full support and staffing from city and county first responders and staff; there is limited staff available to support the event in addition to concerns for city/county employee health & safety. Area hospitals, including Atrium, remain at surge capacity and may not be available in the event of an emergency or mass casualty event. Lincoln County Covid metrics indicate a highly active current rate of community spread and increased caseload without evidence of declining activity.”

As non-profit entities, both Charlotte Pride and the Apple Festival said they don’t exactly have the luxury to hold events like others are. Taste of Charlotte is still planned for October, along with a number of events in South End and Uptown.

But both said they hope they will be able to have events in full next year.

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