The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has thrown a wrench into many community activities around Worthington.
But with the increase in the level of vaccination and Announcement by Governor Mike DeWine As vaccinated people can forgo wearing masks from June 2, community events are starting to make a comeback.
“They have been well received,” said Annina Parini, Executive Director of Worthington Partnership. “I think people are just happy to come out of their homes and have something to do.”
The Worthington partnership has canceled or changed its major events in response to the pandemic.
Worthington Farmers’ Market operates at a limited capacity in 2020 with a pre-order drive-thru model in the first months of the pandemic before moving on to a controlled walk-in event in a parking lot. The events of the Partnership’s first Wednesdays have also been canceled, with no plans to bring them back.
But early Wednesdays have been reimagined in the future as the Sunday Fundays – a one-day DORA themed event that takes place monthly in Old Worthington.
“The Wednesday-themed events were pretty condensed into three hours, which didn’t work well with the pandemic and social distancing, inviting a group of people into a small area in a short period of time,” he said. declared Parini. “Having Sunday all day from noon to 6 p.m. (pm) seemed like a better plan to encourage the community to come together.”
The latest themed event – called Fiesta! – took place on May 2 and additional events are planned until November. The next Funday Sunday, Rainbow Love, is scheduled for June 13.
According to Parini, “Every merchant in the historic district will adopt the theme of their own business. We build the framework; they flesh it out with their own promotions, sales and activities.”
Picnic with the Partnership, an event where part of the High Street is closed to allow live music, dining and small business promotion, was also canceled last year. But Parini said the Partnership was considering an early fall date to bring him back.
The Worthington Parks and Recreation Department has also significantly reduced events throughout 2020, either canceling events or offering them in limited form.
But city-sponsored events are also making a comeback.
The Concerts on the Green Series – a summer concert series taking place at Village Green Park, will return on June 6 and will feature artist Kyle Eldridge.
Events at the Worthington Community Center, such as summer day camp, sports leagues and other events, are expected to return after being canceled or restricted last year.
Meanwhile, this year’s Memorial Day Parade, sponsored by the American Legion Leasure-Blackston Post 239 and canceled last year in lieu of a smaller ceremony, will resume this year, but in limited capacity.
Parks and Recreation Director Darren Hurley has said he expects healthy attendance at upcoming events, but it’s still too early to say whether attendance will reach pre-COVID-19 levels.
“It’s going to be interesting,” he said. “I think you could argue that people are eager to go out and we might see bigger crowds. But I also think there is still some unease.
“I think you can watch it anyway. I guess it will be somewhere in the middle where we have good crowds, but it won’t be overcrowded or crowded. I think we will see people who are vaccinated and comfortable come out in large numbers. “
Parini said organizing events and bringing them back gradually – within health guidelines – has been a challenge. But they have been made possible by the resilience and ability of communities to adapt to changing circumstances.
“Almost all industries are struggling to respond to the pandemic,” she said. “Humans want to come together, and that’s what the Partnership does. We design events for the community to come together, and give them a way to be in our community and to celebrate and sponsor the small businesses that make up that community.
“So it’s difficult. But our organization is run by residents and business leaders of Worthington, so we’re just trying to work together to try to find what is appropriate. “