PHOENIX - For those wanting to go back to normal after COVID-19 disrupted lives across Arizona in a major way, they will now have to wait a bit longer, as a number of popular festivals and events in the Valley are being cancelled due to the latest COVID-19 surge.
Tempe Oktoberfest among the cancelled events
It is a festival that beer lovers look forward to in Tempe, but now, they will have to wait another year for Oktoberfest.
"Everyone at Four Peaks is bummed about it, and the customers who were ready to go," said Zach Fowle, Communications Manager for Four Peaks Brewing Company. "People had it on the calendar, as I had friends that were travelling out to Tempe, it's just for this. So, it was going to be a really fun weekend. It's just it’s a downer all around, but we totally understand the decisions that the City of Tempe’s making to keep people safe, and we wanted to do our part to help keep people safe as well."
In 2020, Tempe Oktoberfest was was held virtually due to COVID-19. Now, the event is cancelled completely, a month and a half before the event would have kicked off on Oct. 8.
"We were looking forward to doing this one in-person, having everyone back for this big party. It's just sad all around," said Fowle.
Fowle says now only is there a lot of extra beer they now have to sell, the cancellation affects the fundraiser for Tempe Sister Cities, a charity that funds collaborations with cities around the world.
"Sister cities, like Regensburg, Germany, they fund study abroad trips for students at ASU. They bring professionals from those other cities to do work study programs here in Tempe, so it's a great program," said Fowle. "The festival raises a lot of money, so not being able to do it these past two years, it has been really tough on them."
Some who want to attend the event say they understand the decision.
"It doesn't bother me too much. It's better to be safe than sorry. I rather skip a year of Oktoberfest than never have it again," said Emily Sax, who lives in Tempe.
Other cities also cancelling events
Tempe not the only city cancelling events, as neighboring Scottsdale is moving in the same direction.
The General Manager of Salt River Fields says due to new restrictions placed on public gatherings by the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, all October festivals have been cancelled or postponed. The Spooktacular Hot Air Balloon Festival has also been cancelled.
Some events still taking place
Some other events will still take place, or will be postponed instead of being cancelled.
The Arizona Taco Festival was supposed to be held from Oct. 23 to Oct. 24. It will now take place on April 9 and 10 of 2022 instead.
Events that, for now, will take place as scheduled include Yoga in the Outfield on Nov. 7, and AZ Barrels, Bottles and Brews on Nov. 13. This is due to the open-air events allowing for new, enhanced spacing and social distancing restrictions.
In Phoenix, officials with Phoenix Pride announced earlier in 2021 that their annual LGBTQ+ pride parade event, which was effectively cancelled in 2020, will take place in November. The event was postponed from its original April date due to COVID-19. Officials have yet to announce any change in plans on their website or social media pages, as of Aug. 31.
In Northern Arizona, the Coconino County Fair is still set to start on Friday, Sept. 3. Everyone, regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status, are required to wear masks indoors.
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