How does a group of 200,000 people safely social distance?
That was the issue the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department faced, and what ultimately led to the cancellation of this year’s Jazz & Ribs Fest, according to Kerry Francis, senior manager of communications with the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department.
“It was a really tough decision to cancel the festival,” Francis said.
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The annual event, which draws about 200,000 people every year depending on weather, and about 30 vendors, is slated for July 22-24 in 2022.
In the meantime, Francis said the Columbus Recreation and Parks staff are trying to plan smaller, neighborhood-driven events and community programming for 2021.
“We want to help our community connect with each other,” Francis said.
While the city doesn’t have anything specific to share at this point, Francis said staff members are looking at all the possibilities to see what they’re able to do to offer safe ways for residents to connect. She said they’re considering food and music-driven events in the spirit of the Jazz & Ribs Fest as well.
As the city finalizes plans, they’ll be shared via social media, Francis said.
“It’s very important to offer events in spaces where the community can connect,” she said.