No Limits – Flagstaff Business News

Promoters will be happy and busy when Flagstaff lifts the crowd restrictions.

The organizers of the Flagstaff Star Party are used to a platform without borders as stargazers explore the expanding universe from Buffalo Park every fall. But since the pandemic began, its ability to personally share the starry sky with thousands of residents and visitors has been dwarfed until now.

It appears that the meteoric streak of closures and cancellations of COVID-19 is dissolving in a cloud of cosmic dust as the limitations of the actual space the pandemic can soon take up gradually diminish. The general shift is being felt in Flagstaff as the city council decided to raise restrictions on attending special events on the city’s property starting July 1.

“This direction provides event planners with the guidance they need to start planning events now this summer and fall with no restrictions on attendance, but still complies with the requirement that manufacturers follow CDC guidelines on COVID reduction,” said Jessica Drum, Flagstaff’s director of public affairs.

With the announcement, a wave of optimism has spread across the city as festivals, celebrations and parades begin at breakneck speed to get back on track.

“As an event planner, COVID has been devastating to my industry,” said Jennifer Grogan, founder of the Flagstaff Blues and Brews Festival. “We have been closed for over a year and I’m not sure how much the public understands the effect of this closure. It is not just us who suffer, but also our landlords, grocery sellers, fencing companies, Porta Johns, musicians, the list goes on and on. We are also bringing tons of tourism dollars to Flagstaff as our attendees book hotel rooms and dine out while they are here. “

Grogan and others have held discussions with city council members about ways to minimize the impact. “It was a great win a few weeks ago when the local council saw the farmers market as a necessity rather than an event. We also wanted to emphasize that it just doesn’t make sense not to have restrictions indoors, like a Walmart, but to have restrictions for outdoor events in a larger space. I appreciate the city council’s discussion, and I appreciate it when councilors talked about us as experts in our field. “

Although Grogan canceled the Flagstaff Brews and Blues Festival for the second year in a row back in June this year, she is partnering with the Orpheum Theater to host a much smaller blues event on June 12th. “It will be an afternoon in the evening event. I’m trying to get four, possibly five bands. “

Noting that public safety “is always a priority for event planners,” even without a pandemic, she says collecting blues will include wearing masks, disinfecting, and social distancing. “This theater seats over 1,000 people, but this event will only hold 250 people,” she said, adding that she will be renting the outdoor area to make more space.

In the meantime, the fourth of July is coming up. Julie Pastrick, President and CEO of the Greater Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce, is ready to call the marching bands in the tradition of the Great Independence Day.

“The Greater Flagstaff Chamber and Pepsi are excited to launch our parade for the first time on July 4th, 2021! People can attend in person or stream the parade live at home via our chamber on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter! ” She said. “The diligence of our community, our commitment to vaccinations, and our rural nature have put us in an excellent position today to host the parade in downtown Flagstaff on Saturday 3rd July. We are grateful that the Mayor and City Council recognized the importance of bringing the community together safely and the significant positive impact of summer outdoor events on our community. “

On Saturday, July 24th, the Theatrikos Theater Company, which has been dark since March 2020, is preparing for the reopening with performances of “Native Gardens” at the Arboretum in Flagstaff.

Looking ahead to fall, the Flagstaff Dark Skies Coalition plans to bring out the stars. “We’re thrilled to share Flagstaff’s inspiring night sky at the Flagstaff Star Party in Buffalo Park from September 30th to October 2nd,” said FDSC chairman and astronomer Chris Luginbuhl. “There are few experiences more impressive than seeing the ancient starlight that has traveled trillions of kilometers before it falls in your eyes!”

Nearby, tourist destinations like the Lowell Observatory are closely monitoring the evolving COVID-19 situation. Director Jeff Hall hopes the facility will soon accommodate more small groups of visitors. “We are using the CDC phase criteria, advice from local experts, and immunity estimates to determine when we can move on to our Phase 3A which will begin our return to general admission and larger crowds. We hope to fully reopen as soon as possible and look forward to seeing everyone back on Mars Hill at this time. “

Event planners will continue to view COVID-19 security measures as business critical, but it appears that Flagstaff events have been cleared for launch for the time being. FBN

By Bonnie Stevens, FBN

Comments are closed.