The City of Vancouver has canceled city-operated special events and permitted events through August 31, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The cancellation includes Vancouver Parks and Recreation’s “Friday Movies in the Parks,” the “Six to Sunset” and “Noon Rhythms” summer concert series at Esther Short Park, and the “Sunday Sounds” concerts at Columbia Tech Center. Festivals and events hosted by outside organizers also will not be permitted through August 31.
“With physical distancing as the first line of defense against COVID-19, the city is unable to safely stage large scale events at this time. Vancouver’s robust calendar of summer park activities traditionally draws crowds of over 1,000 attendees per event, which makes physical distancing difficult. Additionally, the planning, hiring, and fundraising needed to support these annual summer events is not possible this year due to the impacts of COVID-19 on the city’s budget.”
This decision follows the trend seen in cities across the country. In a May poll from the National Recreation and Park Association, only 17% of agencies currently plan to proceed with outdoor movies. The number drops to 5% when agencies were asked about staging annual festivals and concerts.
“We know that this summer is going to be very different than what we’re used to,” said City of Vancouver Special Events Manager Stacey Donovan. “The community concerts, movies, and other events that make Vancouver such a wonderful place to call home will not fill our parks this year. We are disappointed to have to make this call, but we believe it is necessary to prioritize the health and safety of residents, staff, vendors, and performers.”
“We are collectively disappointed that the summer concerts have been canceled this year, but fully understand the diligence and duty our community and city must follow to protect our fellow citizens,” said Buffie Buller-Eaton, property manager for the PacTrust Columbia Tech Center, which sponsors the Sunday Sounds concert series. “We are looking forward to returning for summer 2021.”
Vancouver Parks and Recreation will continue to monitor public health guidance and explore options for small-scale, limited community events in September. Additional information will be shared when it is available.
However, while it’s going to be different from any other year in the past, the Vancouver Farmer’s Market will be open Saturdays and Sundays, with extra health and safety protocols in place. One of the biggest differences is that this is not a social outing, but an opportunity to buy local, essential grocery items; and that dogs will not be allowed unless they are a service dog. For more information, visit Vancouver Farmers Market Opens with Health and Safety Protocols in Place.
A list of canceled community activities is regularly updated on the Vancouver Parks and Recreation COVID-19 Response web page.
For ongoing updates related to Vancouver’s response to novel coronavirus COVID-19, visit City of Vancouver COVID-19 REsponse Updates.