March 21, 2023
Annapolis, US 47 F

BONUS PODCAST: COVID-19 and….festivals, shows and events

As we all work our way through the COVID-19 pandemic, Eye On Annapolis will be bringing you different voices to express the differing (and often unanticipated) aspects of the fight against the Coronavirus.

We have all heard about how hard the bars and restaurants have been hit with the COVID-19 Pandemic. And make no mistake—they have and will continue to be hit hard. But today, I want to talk about another industry that has been decimated and one that we all are missing… events and festivals.

If you look at the calendar in any year but this year, weekends are filled with food festivals, music festivals, wine festivals, beer festivals, parades, boat shows, renaissance festivals and more.  All of them came to a screeching halt in March with limited communications from the various governments.

While smaller companies, like party planners who specialize in tents., inexpensive table runners and linens were hit hard, major events took it even harder. Any festival or any large outdoor event starts like a train. It slowly starts to move and picks up steam and when it finally gets to full speed…the gates open and the festival begins.  But there is so much to be done while getting up to speed that the State, County and City may not have considered.  And keep in mind, that these events are indeed robust businesses that add incredibly to our local economy, and unlike a bar or restaurant that can open up after a shutdown, there is a very brief window of opportunity for these businesses to operate—sometimes dictated by the weather, sometimes by tradition, and sometimes by permit.  For the festivals in the area, there is no “hey we can open up in a few weeks”… for all intents and purposes if a festival does not happen, the organizer is out of business for a year .. to start.

Two of the iconic events in the area are coming up soon— The Maryland Renaissance Festival which was slated to open on August 29th ultimately canceled the 2020 season the day after we spoke; and the Annapolis Boat Shows that start on October 1st. Both have their challenges. Both are hoping and planning to open.  And today, we have the General Managers of both to talk about it.  Welcome Paul Jacobs from the Annapolis Boat Shows and Jules Smith from the Maryland Renaissance Festival.

Oh and quick note— there is an irritating…well at least to me…hum in this recording. I apologize. I had not planned for Reliable Contracting to be repaving my street and to have a line of dump trucks outside the window idling!

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