Local organizers plan to proceed with spring and fall festivals

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STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI)- Social distance has put the brakes on local traditions – including spring and fall festivals.

But, organizers across our area hope they can bring back the events this year.

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It is a careful balance – supporting artists and musicians and tourists while keeping visitors safe.

Funnel cakes and handmade art.

Annual festivals in the spring and fall are where many north Mississippians gather to eat, socialize, and have fun, but the Covid-19 pandemic put a halt to that.

This year the people who plan city festivals want to bring them back safely.

“Our concern is the community and the health and safety of the community at large so we’ll look at that and see what options are available for us and what other festivals are doing” said executive director of Starkville Arts Council John Bateman.

“It’s affecting the communities at large and so we don’t want to create something that’s impacting other communities and spreading the virus” said Bateman.

Bateman is eager to get the ball rolling for hosting the Cotton District Arts Festival this year.

He wants things to go smoothly, but realistically knows there may be some challenges.

“Planning a festival is difficult, there’s a lot of logistics that go into it a lot of planning that happens months in advance” said Bateman.

Planning that could potentially alter their schedule.

“We want to do something, but it might be delayed but we just haven’t made the decision yet, because if we do push back the festival for example then we have to readjust our entire schedule” said Bateman

But Bateman is prepared to make changes.

“One of the things we had already planned to do before this all happened was to spread the vendors out and put spaces and that may be a permanent change” said Bateman

With potential rescheduling, Bateman says he has reached out to vendors to avoid conflict.

“We’re still looking at options and presenting them to the arts council board this month; so I think that most of us are confident that by the fall, of course, knock on wood that life will be back to normal as much as possible for the most part” said Bateman.

Despite all the potential complications Bateman is hopeful for a return of festivals and normal events.

Other festivals in the surrounding area are planning to have their events and all dates will be posted once local councils reach their decisions.