WELLSBORO — Plans continue to move forward for Wellsboro’s renown summer festival, but it will look different than in the past.
At the April 27 chamber of commerce meeting, Executive Director Julie Henry said public interest remains high for this year’s festival, being held June 12-20.
Planning is continuing for a festival, although changes may be necessary if there’s a change in the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s theme is “Nessmuk.”
“What people don’t realize is there are hundreds and hundreds of moving parts that make up Laurel Festival and most of those need to be changed,” Henry said. “We’re doing the best we can to make it a festive activity and do it safely.”
So far, 28 queens have registered to compete for the scholarship. The many traditional activities — coronation, welcome, bus trip to canyon, etc. — are still in development.
The juried arts and crafts fair on The Green has been re-mapped, said Henry. All booths are six feet apart, and some vendors will be located on side streets similar to what happens at Dickens of a Christmas. The side streets will be closed for the fair.
The concessions, or Street of Foods, will remain on The Green with as much social distancing as possible, Henry said.
“The whole idea is to keep the crowd fluid, to keep it moving to keep the crowds from gathering in tight places,” Henry said.
Family Day will still kick-off the festival on June 12, again with changes. There will be no bounce houses, rope walk, balloon tying or activities involving direct contact, Henry said. Booths will be spread around The Green.
“Everything will be changed a little bit to keep our youngsters and families as safe as possible,’ Henry said.
The Pet Parade will be held on Sunday, but may not be an actual parade.
“We’re trying to figure out what we can do instead of having a parade up the street; it tends to get pretty crowded,” she said. “We’re figuring out what we can do so the kids can get out and show their pets in a safe manner.”
As for the big Saturday parade?
“If I had to make the decision with information I have today, I would say the chances are slim that we will have a conventional Laurel Festival parade,” Henry said.
The parade components — the floats and bands — will still be a part of the festival, but may not wind through Wellsboro as in years past. The floats will be on display for photos opps for visitors and bands will play at different times and locations, again to keep the crowds moving and gatherings small.
“We’re having lot of fun thinking outside the box, being creative with the event and we’re going to keep our fingers crossed and hope it all works out,” Henry said.