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What downtown event plans might look like in 2021

Rochester Downtown Alliance remains cautiously optimistic that events will return throughout the year

Last Thursdays on First and Third
Rochester Downtown Alliance remains cautiously optimistic that events, such as Thursdays Downtown, will return in 2021 with appropriate COVID-19 precautions in place. (file photo)

With most events canceled in 2020 because of COVID-19, the Rochester Downtown Alliance is planning for events — in some form — in 2021.

“Safety is our top priority. We want to keep our community’s health top of mind while providing something they can enjoy downtown,” said Monika Kopet, RDA director of events and strategic partnerships, in a statement regarding the organization’s plans. “For the first half of 2021, we’ll focus on more passive experiences and envision the second half of the year to center more on the crowd-gathering events as in a typical year.”

Graham Briggs, director of Olmsted County Public Health, said emerging vaccines provide cautious optimism that events, such as Thursdays Downtown, will be possible during the second half of the year.

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“We’ve seen throughout the pandemic the future is difficult to predict, but supporting local businesses downtown while enjoying a summer evening in Rochester might not be that far off,” he said.

RDA staff said they will remain flexible with in-person plans and dates as the COVID-19 situation evolves. Current plans include:

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  • Sidewalk Sessions: Every weekday May through June with physical distancing and masking guidelines while enjoying these small, passive musical enjoyment opportunities will be encouraged. Hand sanitizing stations will be present for the public’s use.
  • Fresh Air Fitness Classes: Every Tuesday and Thursday May through June with the public required to sign up for a fitness class in advance. Hand sanitizing stations will be present.
  • Movies in the Park: Every other weekend beginning June 12 and ending Aug. 28 with participants required to reserve a space for the movie date. Six-foot circles will be traced on Central Park’s lawn to ensure proper physical distancing. Hand sanitizing stations will be present for the public’s use.
  • Thursdays Downtown: Every Thursday starting July 8 and ending Sept. 30, with dates subject to change based on the pandemic. COVID-19 precautions will be based on state and Olmsted County Public Health guidance at time of event.
  • Roller Disco: A potential new event for 2021 with a yet-to-be-determined date in August that will feature an outdoor roller skate/blade disco with DJ.
  • Dogs Downtown: Sept. 18, with COVID-19 precautions based on state and Olmsted County Public Health guidance at time of event.
  • Harvest Festival: Oct. 2 with required COVID-19 precautions.
  • Here Comes Santa Claus: Nov. 26, with required COVID-9 precautions.

Additionally, marketing campaigns, such as Summer Sale and Small Business Saturday, to support downtown businesses are planned for July 12-17 and Nov. 27, respectively.

Related Topics: EVENTSGRAHAM BRIGGS
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