Festival in the Park gets the 'green' light

By Larry McGuire

PUNXSUTAWNEY — The Punxsutawney Area Chamber of Commerce Board met this past Tuesday with a representative of Punxsutawney borough, and because Jefferson County entered the green phase of reopening Friday, the decision was made to proceed with the brand new "Festival in the Park," as long as they could comply with whatever COVID-19 state health and federal CDC guidelines are in effect during the period of June 27 through July 4.

Bob Cardamone, Chamber of Commerce executive director, said that one of their major meeting topics was festival operational changes and volunteer commitments that needed to comply with state and federal COVID-19 requirements. He said the safety of the Punxsutawney community and festival attendees is paramount. "The chamber board's justification to proceed was based on Jefferson County becoming ‘green’ as of May 29 and the ability to maintain compliance with PA Department of Health and federal CDC guidelines," he said, adding that if Jefferson County were to revert to yellow or red, or if the state or federal guidelines were to change, the chamber board, in collaboration with Punxsutawney borough, would need to revisit the "go" decision.

He said that it is possible that festival activities will be more limited than originally planned to comply with social distancing, masking and other state, federal and local guidelines. Bands and food vendors are locked in. Cardamone said that non-food vendors are still being contracted. He pointed out that youth activities are still being considered, based on COVID-19 and general safety considerations.

More information will be released in the near future, following Monday's festival committee chairpersons meeting.