It takes months of planning for cities to host events — and for many, that planning is well underway as summer looms right around the corner and many make the switch from virtual to “in-person” once again.
Ah, the way things used to be: carefree fun, packed shoulder-to-shoulder.
Needless to say, 2020 put a screeching halt to all of that.
But the city of Mentor is determined to get back to some sense of normalcy this summer.
“We’re looking at this year as 100% full throttle,” said city manager Ken Filipiak.
Filipiak said they’re working with the health department to follow all guidelines, just like they did last summer.
Starting in June, they have a full concert lineup at the city’s outdoor amphitheater called Mentor Rocks.
They’re also bringing back citywide festivals and summer camps for kids, as well as planning events for seniors to combat the year of isolation.
“We’re gonna be ready,” he said. “I think most of our population will be vaccinated by the time summer really kicks into high gear and we will have precautions in place for our people to have great fun.”
The city of Eastlake, also moving ahead with live events — farmers markets in May, a Memorial Day ceremony, and a July 14 concert at Captains Stadium, along with Octoberfest and Fall Fest. Mayor Dennis Morley said they're working with the county on specific guidelines.
And in Cleveland Heights, youth sports, yoga in the park and boot camps are all beginning in April.
Concerts will kick off in Cain Park in July.
Every city hosting in-person events says they will be following COVID-19 safety guidelines.
Parma is all in person, too — dates are set for weekly movie nights in July, the Ukrainian parade in August, the citywide craft fair in September and lots more. The city said they want to reopen, but will do it safely.
But over on the west side — Lakewood is taking a more cautious approach.
In fact, all summer events, for now, are planned to be virtual, beginning with the popular Front Porch Concert series in June.
“Bringing everyone together, we just don’t feel like we can do it in a healthy and safe way. But we think people will still resonate with the virtual series,” said Ian Andrews, executive director at Lakewood Alive.
Andrews says conversations are continuing with the city and county on how to keep everyone safe, hoping at least October’s Spooky Pooch parade can be back on.
“Vaccinations are increasing and things are really moving in a positive direction so it’s hard to predict the future, but we do not want to close the door on that, that might be in person,” Andrews said.
And the city’s signature event — Light Up Lakewood in December, usually bringing in about 20,000 plus folks — is so far set to be live and lively.
Meanwhile in Lorain, the Rock’n on the River concert series in late May and Brew Fest are a go—in person — and so is the Fourth of July fireworks show. There will also be a concert series in South Lorain every Saturday.
"We will request that people practice social distancing and wear masks as much as possible and try to limit crowd size, but since all of these events are outdoors, they should be relatively safe events," said Lorain Mayor Jack Bradley. "We will, of course, confer with Lorain County Public Health to make sure we are keeping people as safe as possible."