Despite the uncertainty the COVID-19 pandemic has caused, The Colony still plans to have an American Heroes event this year, albeit a little smaller than last year’s event.
Tuesday, The Colony City Council directed the city staff to pursue plans for a scaled-down version of the annual Veterans Day festival. American Heroes will be held one day only, Nov. 7 at Five Star Complex.
The event will begin with the traditional Veterans Day ceremony, and it will include food and vendor booths, a car show, live music and a fireworks show. But it won’t include carnival rides.
Brant Shallenburger, director of government relations, originally presented four options to the council – cancel the event due to COVID-19 concerns, have only a fireworks show, which is the direction the city took for its Fourth of July celebration, reduce the event to one day or keep it as a two-day event.
Mayor Joe McCourry and several council members favored a one-day event. McCourry said it would be difficult to pull off a two-day event considering everything that is going on with COVID-19.
“I say we take the money we would have spent on the bands for a second night and push that into the bands for our one-night event,” McCourry said.
Councilman Kirk Mikulec supported a one-day event but strongly discouraged having carnival rides. Mikulec said he was concerned about the health and safety of people getting on and off rides.
“I don’t see that being a good recipe with folks getting on and off those and touching the safety bars,” Mikulec said. “That’s the part that really worries me.”
Mikulec also noted several signs that COVID-19 isn’t tapering off, such as high school and college athletes being diagnosed this week with the virus.
“I think we made the right decision on July 4 on curbing that event,” Mikulec said. “There’s not going to be a vaccine before Veterans Day.”
Shallenburger said the city is limited on what it can do to recoup the money it spends on the live music if COVID-19 forces the cancellation of American Heroes. He said the city’s event insurance won’t cover cancellation because of COVID-19.
“They said because COVID-19 is a known event at this point they will not cover that under insurance,” Shallenburger said.
He said the city will seek to get language into the contract with the bands that will allow the city to get some of its money back if the event gets cancelled because of the virus.
Shallenburger said event goers will be asked to adhere to social distancing, there will be hand sanitizer stations throughout the event and that everyone, including staff and volunteers, would be asked to wear masks and gloves.
Shallenburger said if orders are put in place that prohibit the live music, the event can still include a fireworks show, and people can be asked to watch them from their vehicles.