Future of Erie's Downtown Festivals: Rib Fest, 8 Great Tuesdays, CelebrateErie
All week long, Erie News Now is showcasing some of our favorite events around the region to check if they are happening this summer.
Some are proceeding as normal, others are postponed, some are canceled and a few have yet to make a decision.
One event that plans to make a return this year is the Rib Fest.
The weekend event typically happens in May, but this year it's pushed back until Sept. 15-18.
Organizers are happy to have it back in downtown Erie, but are making changes due to COVID-19.
This year, tables will be spread out all through out both sides of Perry Square. This way, people can eat with the people they came with. There won't be big tents for people to gather under, but they will still have live music.
Organizers plan to add some new features this year including a plan to have mix brews on site.
Event organizers say they have been working with the Erie County Health Department to make sure the festival runs smoothly and safely for everyone.
But they understand things can change.
"Everyone understands that if there is another resurgence we will just have to forgo it," said Kathy Danielson, Rib Fest producer. "But, we are moving forward with the hope we can have a successful, well attended, fun event. We're all looking so forward to having a good time together once this pandemic is over."
To learn more about the event, click here.
8 Great Tuesdays
While some events are good to go, others are still up in the air about their plans.
We also checked in with organizers of 8 Great Tuesdays to see if there are plans for the weekly event to return this summer.
If you are looking for live music and good food on a Tuesday night in a normal summer, chances are, you will end up at the Liberty Park Amphitheater and 8 Great Tuesdays.
This event brings people out all summer long , but it may not happen this year. Organizers have been working on trying to find a plan that is safe for community members, but have yet to find it. In a statement, organizers said they are planning on coming to a final decision in the near future:
"Due to ongoing changes in event COVID restrictions, the Erie-Western Pennsylvania Port Authority has postponed making a final decision regarding the status of ErieBank 8 Great Tuesdays until mid- to late May. Should restrictions ease to a point where we can successfully and safely hold ErieBank 8 Great Tuesdays, we are confident we will have the time, even with a decision in late May, to execute the event on its normal schedule in July and August"
While some organizers wait to finalize plans, some already have a decision made.
It will be another year with no CelebrateErie.
Organizers last week made the decision to cancel the event that brings thousands of people to downtown Erie in August.
Organizers say there has been constant conversations with the Erie County Department of Health and they believe, at this time, it's not safe.
Organizers say the health of community members is most important and they don't want to risk that. They also say planning would be very difficult with the constant changes.
"It's nice to finally have a decision, but at the same time, there's nothing we want more than having headliners down here, and local vendors, and making sure Erie has a huge celebration - especially after being cooped up so long with the virus," said Aaron Loncki, president of CelebrateErie. "We're really looking forward to 2022."