The Powell Festival is a no-go – at least for now.
The annual fest, the city’s signature event, has been postponed from its scheduled June 26 and 27 dates in response to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
Powell City Council hopes to reschedule and is looking at dates in the fall, said city spokeswoman Megan Canavan. One possibility is an Oct. 3 event that combines the festival with the annual community bonfire, though nothing has been determined, she said.
Speaking to the city’s operations committee May 19, Canavan said current health guidelines that ban large gatherings make many of the activities held during the festival difficult or unworkable.
Silas Bowers, assistant director of parks and recreation, told committee members that many sponsors and vendors “may be struggling, and I’d hate to put them in a bad spot – a government coming to them for money at this time.”
This year’s Powell Festival would be the 23rd annual event. It typically attracts around 10,000 people, city leaders said, and serves as Powell’s de facto celebration of July Fourth, ending with a fireworks show.
“Our community looks forward to this signature event each year,” said City Manager Andrew White. “While it is unfortunate we can’t gather in June, we’re hopeful to carry on many of the traditions of the event in the fall.”
Though the fest may be postponed or canceled, the city hopes to inject a little fun into its original weekend anyway.
Canavan said the city plans to activate the Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area in downtown Powell on June 26 and 27, the weekend that the festival would have been held.
The DORA allows licensed liquor establishments within the designated area to sell alcohol at certain times that can be carried out of their establishments in specially marked cups.
Staff has begun contacting the liquor-permit holders within the city’s DORA boundaries to see who would like to participate, she said.
It would be the first time Powell has taken advantage of the DORA, approved in October after more than a year of discussion.
The DORA event would be held from 5 to 11 p.m. June 26 and noon to 11 p.m. June 27 in downtown Powell.
White said the city’s goal is to promote and celebrate the small-business community.
“Small businesses have endured so much the past three months,” he said.
The city also will hold a virtual 5K on June 27.
Residents are invited to run or walk 5 kilometers – on local paths, sidewalks or on their treadmills – anytime between June 26 and 28.
Powell’s festival committee is working with Endo Monkey Racing – the producers of the Powell Turkey Trot race – and the Columbus Running Company to plan the event.