A staple of the summer season, Escalon’s annual Park Fete might be moving to the fall.
At least for this year.
With the uncertainty of large scale events in connection with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, event organizers have decided to postpone Park Fete.
Stopping short of deciding to cancel it altogether, the group said they want to take time and carefully evaluate all the scenarios before giving up on the annual festival.
Traditionally hosted the second weekend in July, the Park Fete brings huge crowds to the city during a Friday-Saturday event that features multiple music performances, a downtown parade, games, rides, food, vendor booths and more.
The planning committee gathered for a virtual meeting this past week and decided on the postponement – the event was originally set for July 10 and 11.
“We’re not sure what phase we’ll be in,” Paula Rocha, one of the coordinators, said of the July dates. “That makes it difficult to plan.”
The large scale gathering that Park Fete would bring isn’t likely something that would be allowed during the next couple of months. With vendors needing to be lined up and contracts signed soon, Rocha said organizers felt they had no other option right now than to postpone the event.
“It will happen,” she said. “Just not in July.”
Another meeting of the group is set for Tuesday, June 23 to assess the situation. More details about that gathering – whether it will again be a ‘zoom’ style or perhaps can be in person by then – will be available as the date gets closer.
Escalon Lions Club has served as the primary sponsor for Park Fete for the last several years and club member and Escalon Mayor Robert Swift said that, as Rocha noted, the planning committee was forced to delay the event.
“You’re talking capital outlays for the bands, the caterers for Miss Escalon, to get this event to go, you really need about a two-month planning period,” Swift explained.
And while San Joaquin County continues to see things starting to open up as Phase 2 takes full effect, it still isn’t enough to adequately plan for a packed Main Street Park area in mid-July.
“This is a Phase 4 event,” Swift said.
He noted that, if anything, they want to make sure to host a Miss Escalon contest to allow a local teen the chance to represent the city and they also hope to have a parade and some sort of gathering.
“A thought is to possibly combine it with a Chamber of Commerce event, maybe we have a Saturday parade and event and the Chamber wine stroll that night,” Swift said, offering up ideas. “Maybe we do something on a football bye weekend so we can have a Friday night.”
Right now, there are just too many questions and not enough answers. The ultimate goal, Swift and Rocha agreed, is to have some sort of city celebration and gathering with an eye toward the fall.
Swift said he would like to see as many people as possible get involved – even though this is a tough year to do it – and is hoping those interested will be able to attend the June 23 meeting to lend their voices to the discussion.