New Albany Main Street Director Billye Jean Stroud went before the Board of Aldermen on July 7 to discuss plans for the upcoming Tallahatchie Riverfest.
Riverfest, which takes place the last week in September, is still expected to occur in some form. Stroud pointed out that riverfest takes place outside and not in a closed off room. She also said that schools are planning to open back up in August.
“It’s important to our merchants downtown and to our restaurants too,” Stroud said. “This festival brings a lot of people to their shops and into their restaurants.”
Ward 1 Alderman Amy Livingston said she feels as though officials should go forward with planning the event. But Livingston added that there should be a Covid-19 plan in place for riverfest.
“As long as we have a Covid plan in place I would think it would be fine to go forward,” Livingston said. “We just need to know what we’re doing in order to be safe and prevent the spread.”
Stroud said she is happy to develop a Covid plan.
“We’ll work really hard to get you a Covid plan” and make riverfest as safe as possible, Stroud said.
Ward 2 Alderman Johnny Anderson said the plan is “subject to change depending on the circumstances.”
There were also questions as to whether street vendors should take part in this year’s riverfest or if there would be a kids zone.
Alderman at Large Keith Conlee asked what the impact to the local merchants would be if there were no street vendors. Stroud indicated that not having the street vendors could have a significant impact on the local merchants.
“It’s a big time for them,” Stroud said.
She noted that the street vendors bring people downtown between the hours of 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Livingtson asked if there would be a way to spread the vendors out more to create more distancing.
Another part of riverfest is a concert, and this year’s performer will be Mississippi country music singer Steve Azar. Livingston said the concert is going to draw a crowd. It will be difficult to control distancing at the concert, she added.