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Fairs and festivals allowed again in Phase 3

What does that mean for the Spring in SELA?
Updated: Mar. 2, 2021 at 9:44 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Along with a whole host of eased restrictions, Phase 3 brings back fairs and festivals, although a lot of the big ones like Jazz Fest have already been rescheduled for the fall.

Right now, outdoor fairs and festivals can be held at 50% capacity with no cap on attendance, but everyone there has to be six feet apart.

“We literally cheered in my office when we heard the governor said Phase 3,” Jefferson Parish District 5 Councilmember Jennifer Van Vrancken said.

More: La. to enter Phase 3 of reopening, except in Orleans Parish

As far as spring parades and festivals in Metairie, Van Vrancken doesn’t think it will be any of the big events quite yet.

The Jefferson Parish Council dropped a measure allowing Mardi Gras parades to roll in May and the parish says St. Patty’s Day parades are still off as it focuses on vaccinations.

Van Vrancken says it’s hard to tell what can happen until the Fire Marshal releases specific guidelines.

“If we can do fairs and festivals by submitting some sort of plan to the State Fire Marshal to say ‘this is how we’ll keep people socially distanced or the crowd limited’ in whatever way they require, we’re going to try and find those paths forward so that people can get back out there and we can begin to enjoy what I think we’re missing so much,” Van Vrancken said.

Canceling for the first time last year, Vice President of the Louisiana Crawfish Festival Foundation, Cisco Gonzales says he can’t go another year without the St. Bernard Parish gem.

“To cancel it is a heartbreaker to all of us, I mean, this is a volunteer organization,” Gonzales said

The Louisiana Crawfish Festival, originally set for March 18, brings in over 120,000 people every year over four days benefiting different charities.

“We’re not canceling at this time whatsoever,” Gonzales said. “We want to have this festival as bad as everybody wants to come out to the festival, so we’re looking at probably late May or early in June.”

Gonzales says he’s beyond excited about the news but is going to wait until phase three expires on March 28 to make a solid decision.

“Just not big enough yet for us to pull the trigger,” Gonzales said.

Gonzales has concerns over being able to meet the marshal’s requirements with how big the festival has gotten over the years, but has it planned out, from the music to the social distancing.

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“I’d say three weeks to 30 days, max, we can have this festival up and going,” Gonzales said.

Organizers with the Irish Italian Parade in Metairie say it’s scheduled for June 6, but they will do whatever the Parish Council allows them to.

The State Fire Marshal says enforcement of any COVID protocols at fairs and festivals will be up to the Parish.

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