2021 Park Avenue Summer Art Festival canceled due to COVID-19

Festivals

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — COVID-19 strikes again.

Organizers with the Park Ave. Summer Art Fest announced Tuesday this year’s event is canceled. In a statement organizers said:

“After reviewing the New York State Guidelines and consulting with the City of Rochester and Monroe County Health Department, the Park Avenue Revitalization Committee has made the difficult decision to postpone the 2021 Park Avenue Summer Art Festival until August 6 and 7, 2022. We are grateful for the community support, as we shift our focus from the Art Festival to assisting the small business impact on Park Avenue from the COVID-19 pandemic. We will continue to look at ways we can celebrate Park Avenue and all it has to offer safely in 2021.”

The festival is typically held in early August, but was canceled last year because of the pandemic.

City officials said Tuesday it’s the lack of guidance from the state that led to this tough decision. They said they want to see universal guidance all festivals can follow.

City of Rochester communications director Justin Roj said current capacity restrictions have kept things in limbo and decisions had to be made quickly if they wanted to secure vendors in time.

“Right now many of the festivals are held to about a 200 person standard or now, maybe depending on how these things go and they’re open to interpretation, to 33% standard of capacity. Well, that’s the challenge with that, if you have the capacity standard now you have to fence and control that site that’s added expense that’s added security,” Roj said.

The Lilac Festival and New York State Fair are both happening this summer, leaving some people confused by the Park Avenue news. Roj said Lilac was given specific direction by Empire State Development, something he said all festivals need.

Another event still able to go on is Rochester Carnival Eats in Spencerport which is happening this weekend. Organizer Allen LaVenture said it falls under food vendor guidelines, even though the event is similar to a festival.

“We’re not encouraging people to linger, we don’t have tables we kind of move people along so it’s no different than if you were picking up, I mean obviously it’s an attraction because it’s a unique thing, but it’s no different than going to your local restaurant picking up food and leaving,” said LaVenture.

Park Avenue Festival is the latest summer event to announce it will not be taking place this year. Last week, organizers with the Corn Hill Sumer Arts Festival announced the 2021 event is also canceled.

Elsewhere, organizers with the Lilac Festival are moving forward with plans for three weekends in May, and the Rochester International Jazz Festival has plans for a summer event at the RIT campus this year. The Fringe Festival has announced intentions of a hybrid festival, with some events being virtual and others in-person.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday the New York State Fair will be held for a full 18 days at the end of summer. He said current plans are for a 50% capacity restriction, but said attendance control could change as vaccination progresses against the pandemic.

Fairport Canal Days is still scheduled for June 5-6, but organizers say that too is subject to change:

Last week, New York State Budget Director Robert Mujica said he expected New York to expand capacity restrictions for outdoor events, venues, and stadiums this week.

“The guidance for outside has been increasing,” Mujica said. “We just did revisions for large arenas that we’re actually indoors and we expect to now follow that over the next week with revisions for the guidance to outdoor events. We are increasing the numbers outdoor, but this is largely tied to the number of people vaccinated and the infection rates and the testing in those areas, but we are increasing the amounts on the outdoor events.

“Just because it’s outdoors, there are other restrictions in place, and there are still possibility of infections, so it really relates to the number of people being vaccinated, but at the pace we are vaccinating, if we continue along that pace then those numbers can be revised. But if there is a drop off, which is what we’re seeing, then it will take longer.” Mujica said.

Gov. Cuomo announced Monday that outdoor stadium spectator capacity could increase from 20% to 33%, effective May 19 — the day after the Rochester Red Wings home opener at Frontier Field.

This is a developing story. News 8 WROC will provide updates as they become available.

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