Winter Park chamber cancels summer events
The Winter Park Fraser Chamber of Commerce announced the cancellation of its summer event lineup, including Jazz Festival, High Note Thursdays and Solshine, due to the public health restrictions for the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chamber Executive Director Catherine Ross explained the chamber didn’t expect a time this summer where gatherings over 200 people would be allowed, pretty much ruling out hosting any events.
“We just do not foresee that there’s a time when the state will open up gathering numbers in enough to be able to have large events,” Ross said. “If we do a tiny event with a band, then we’re just going to lose money.”
So far, the cancellations only apply to Chamber sponsored events, such as Jazz Festival, Solshine, Winter Park Uncorked, High Note Thursdays, Fitness in the Park, the Run for Independence, the 4th of July celebration, the Switchback concert and Tequila and Tacos.
Instead, the chamber is looking to roll out a Fraser Valley passport of various experiences visitors could enjoy in small groups while social distancing, like a hungry hiker itinerary or a brunch bike guide that would connect visitors to local businesses, as well as stuff to do.
Other events, like Tequila and Tacos and Uncorked, may get repackaged as a do-it-yourself tour, if county and town officials approve.
Ross also proposed a front porch Fourth of July since the chamber still would like to do a fireworks display and looking into drive-in movies to replace High Note Thursdays.
“We’re trying to make people feel welcome to come here without saying ‘Oh, business is open as usual,’” Ross said of the events and related marketing.
In an email to members, the chamber added that it would be ready to pivot back to a focus on events if it becomes possible.
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When the Braidwood Condominiums in Winter Park were built in the 1980s, the building lacked hallways wide enough for wheelchairs, walls between units were slim and the fire suppression system couldn’t compare to modern requirements.