Delta variant causes local event organizers to navigate potential guideline changes

Coronavirus

The Delta variant is an issue across the nation everywhere people gather.

Several festival organizers are working to navigate potential guideline changes in response to the Delta variant.

We went to Saint Paul Catholic Church where the Erie Italian Festival will take place all weekend long.

Staff and volunteers here at Saint Paul’s have been preparing for this festival all day long.

Several organizers said that it has been a battle all year to plan their festivals.

Music, food, and games will return to the Italian Festival this weekend August 6th through the 8th.

Organizers said that it was difficult to plan an event during the pandemic.

“We don’t know what to expect Friday night being the first festival fair of a large traditional nature,” said Brian Ferraro, Organizer of Italian Festival.

Ferraro said that they typically start planning in February, but this year organizers waited until April to go ahead with the full scale festival.

“Are we concerned with the variant out there? We definitely are. There’s talk everyday, but we’re hoping there’s not an announcement this weekend and also keeping other festivals in mind for the coming weeks,” said Ferraro.

Another festival organizer said that while they hope to host the full event, they have a variety of plans for whatever guidelines are in place.

“To try to come back with the live music, the street dancing, the food, the beverages, everything that we could and that’s what we set our sites on and we’ve had plan A,B,C,D,E,F, and G whatever we have to do to keep us in good stead and good health,” said Ray Luniewski, Co-Chair of Zabawa Polish Heritage Festival.

Zabava organizers said that the community’s safety is top priority.

“We understand people might be skittish. If they want to wear a mask you are more than welcome to do whatever. We’ll try to make as much space out there as we can,” said Luniewski.

Organizers of the Blues and Jazz Festival this fall have more time to plan and make arraignments.

“Every contract I signed has a clause that says if we can’t have the event because of COVID, it’s off,” said John Vanco, Organizer of Blues and Jazz Festival.

Dan Rice Days in Girard this weekend is another festival expected to attract a lot of people.

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