Hot fun in the quarantine

Northglenn looking for ways to have summer festivals, social distancing too

Scott Taylor
staylor@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 5/26/20

Northglenn councilors struggled May 18 to figure out how to keep residents safe during a pandemic while managing to have a little fun and celebrate the community. “I just think if we can somehow …

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Hot fun in the quarantine

Northglenn looking for ways to have summer festivals, social distancing too

Posted

Northglenn councilors struggled May 18 to figure out how to keep residents safe during a pandemic while managing to have a little fun and celebrate the community.

“I just think if we can somehow come up with something that’s in person,” Mayor Meredith Leighty said. “I am growing weary of all the livestream everything.”

Northglenn’s festivals and special events have been cancelled through the end of July in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to slow the spread of the disease through social distancing.

That includes the popular Food Truck Carnival, which would have been earlier this month if not for the pandemic, the mid-June Mudapalooza volleyball tournament and the city’s annual Independence Day celebration.

Instead, residents could get gift bags from the city full of flags, inflatable beach balls, sunscreen, sidewalk chalk and the makings for s’mores.

“What if some of the bags, we wouldn’t know which ones, had a voucher for local business in them?” Councilor Julie Duran Mullica said. “Then they could use this to support a local business. These goodie bags could be really flexible in how we use them.”

The July 4 car show, typically a big draw for the holiday weekend, could evolve into classic car parade — if the city can settle on a parade route.

“I would favor and parade, but not necessarily a parade with the high schools and the elementary schools and everybody marching and the horses. Not that kind of parade,” Councilor Antonio Esquibel said. “I am thinking of a classic car parade, which is pretty easy to do if you do parade route that covers the major arteries.”

He suggested the route that favor residential areas, where families could step outside and watch.

“We keep it simple,” Esquibel said. “I sure anybody in public works can tell us how long it takes to drive the city, and it won’t be that long. We’re not that big a city.”

And instead of a Food Truck Carnival, the city could contract with individual food trucks, positioning them in different parts of the city and encouraging residents to call ahead to order a special meal.

“I wonder if we could put out a schedule, much like we did with our concerts in the park,” Mayor Leighty said. “People could look at the schedule and find truck they like and decide they’ll go there and then skip a week.”

Changing phases

Colorado is currently in the “safer at home” phase of pandemic response, with public events discouraged entirely, limited to virtual and online events or those limited to 10 people or fewer, all six-feet away from each other.

But City Manager Heather Geyer said the city is expecting the next phase, called “Protect Our Neighbors” could begin at some point this summer. That might allow more events and bigger gatherings, with mask and social distancing requirements still in place.

Communications Director Diana Wilson said the city is trying to decide the fate of upcoming events at least six weeks before they are scheduled.

“It’s easier to cancel events six weeks out,” she said. “It’s a lot harder to execute events with only six weeks notice.”

Northglenn Events Supervisor Steven Stokes said he’s not sure what will happen the city’s signature late summer events, August’s Magic Fest and September’s Pirate Fest. They could be allowed under pandemic protocols or they could be restricted.

One idea is to sell a limited number of timed-tickets for the Magic Fest. Families would come at pre-determined times in small groups to watch shows and interact with the performers.

A Pirate Fest replacement could be timed to coincide with a rescheduled Rotary Club Duck Derby along the Farmer’s Highline Canal, usually scheduled for July 4.

“They know it’s possible there will not be a enough water in the canal at that time of year, so there are alternative options of doing it in a different way,” he said. “They are aware and they were looking at alternatives, like instead of a derby they could do a duck drop and the one comes closest to the center wins. But they are currently scheduled for Pirate Fest, so we just have to get their to make sure we can actually have the event.”

Other ideas call for drive in movies or concerts at various places throughout the city.

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