The Town Council has given its approval for the Fall Festival of Fine Arts & Crafts in Fountain Hills to go ahead as scheduled Nov. 13 -15.
The council voted 4-3 to issue a special event permit for the fair at a special session on Monday, Sept. 28. Mayor Ginny Dickey, Councilman Alan Magazine and Councilman Mike Scharnow were the “no” votes.
The Fountain Hills Chamber of Commerce has hosted the annual arts fairs for nearly 50 years, this is the first time it has had to consider cancellation.
A staff report to the council states that Governor Doug Ducey’s executive orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic have prohibited any events or gatherings that would attract more than 50 people, however, the governor has recently changed his position to allow such events if permitted by the municipality.
Chamber CEO Betsy Lavoie made her case for going ahead to the council by noting that several similar events are scheduled around the Valley including Cave Creek, Tempe and West Valley locations.
LaVoie also presented the Chamber’s comprehensive safety plan to the council.
“The (festival) understands the impact and importance that our fairs have on local businesses, the economy and our community,” the plan states. “We are prepared to implement strict physical distancing procedures as well as (a) detailed and thorough public health and safety plan.”
LaVoie said the plan has been prepared conforming to the guidelines of CDC and current state and local regulations.
“Changes will be made upon recommendations and updates by governmental bodies as well as the CDC, WHO or Arizona Department of Health Services,” the plan states.
The plan calls for a doubling of security to monitor the measures being put in place.
Dr. Michael Eisenberg, a local resident, spoke saying conditions are not as rosy as they are being made out to be by government and some health officials and urged a no vote.
Chamber of Commerce Board President Bill Hinz stated Chamber staff had spent a lot of time taking a hard look at the situation and finding ways to make it safe.
The Times will have a more detailed report on this decision, including the safety procedures, in its Oct. 7 print edition.