Organizers faced with decision when it comes to NC festivals, events as summer approaches

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Before the COVID-19 pandemic you couldn’t go a weekend without there being some sort of festival or event.

On a larger scale, the Dreamville Festival drew in tens of thousands of people to Raleigh in 2019.

Now, festivals, big or small, are slowly making their way back. However, organizers are faced with a decision.

“I’m finding that my friends that are having their events in May, June and July and maybe even August have made that call. Either they are going virtual or not having it again,” said Julie Beck.

Beck is the president of the North Carolina Festivals and Events Association.

She also organizes the North Carolina Pickle Festival in Mount Olive. They made the call to go virtual this year.

“Because it’s hard to know what the governor’s mandates are going to be. It’s hard to know if people are going to be comfortable coming to an event. I think the tricky part is, yes, I do believe people are ready to come to an event but is your event capable of handling more than what you would normally have?” Beck said.

She said some festivals have opted not to come back, while some have.

“I think the people who are having a harder time are those with the fall events, like the N.C. Seafood Festival [and] the Lexington Barbeque Festival. These [events] are bringing in 100,000-200,000 people and is that feasible to do that? So, they are still trying to make that final call,” Beck explained.

“My hope is that we don’t lose too many festivals. They play such a vital role in our state,” she added.

Beck said it takes months to plan festivals so the decision to move forward or cancel is not taken lightly.

For a list of festivals and events happening or not happening in the coming weeks and months, click here.

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