Natural performer

Popular entertainer Hazel of Hazel Miller and the Collective will be in Fairplay to perform a free concert during the Aug. 27 edition of TGI-Fairplay.

It might appear as if summer events in Park County are back in full swing and that it’s business as usual for all parties involved. But in reality, it is business as usual with the added weight of what could be referred to as a slight COVID hangover.

Many notable summertime events in Park County are sponsored by the Town of Fairplay and are planned and executed under the direction of Special events Coordinator and Public Works Administrative Assistant, Julie Bullock.

Bullock has excelled in her event-coordinating role for many years and is excited that the Town of Fairplay will be offering a full slate of events this summer – most all of which were cancelled in 2020 due to COVID.

But because of last year’s cancellations and the uncertain status of this year’s events, as well as ongoing health concerns, several challenging twists have been added to the planning process in 2021.

For starters, it is impossible to estimate public attendance when some health concerns still exist. On one hand, it seems reasonable to assume that people are itching to travel and socialize after coping with more than 15 months of social distancing. Conversely, some people remain leery of COVID and might stay closer to home during the coming weeks and months ahead.

“Predicting public attendance at these events is always nothing but guesswork,” Bullock said. “You just never know. But the biggest kink this year was that we didn’t know until late-March and early-April whether or not these events would even be happening. So we just got started so much later than usual.”

Burro Days, which is the largest of Fairplay’s summer events in terms of public attendance, provides a wealth of exposure and considerable income for many local vendors. Those vendors usually make arrangements to reserve booth spaces at Burro Days one year ahead of time. For the entirety of last year, however, and until very recently, the probability of even holding a large public event seemed highly unlikely.

“Many of our regular vendors are very excited about getting back to Burro Days, for example, while some of them are still not quite comfortable,” Bullock said.

In addition to Burro Days (July 23-25), the Town of Fairplay will also be sponsoring a Community Block Party June 26, a July 4 Independence Day Celebration and a TGI-Fairplay Concert Aug. 27.

Despite lingering health concerns, and doing a year’s worth of planning in just over two month’s time, Bullock insists that the show will go on and that the Town’s staff will manage to pull the events together much as they have in years past.

“It’s just great that we are able to pull these events off this summer,” Bullock said. “Some events might not look exactly how they have in the past, but they will be great as always and hopefully well attended. We were bustling with activity and visitors in town over Memorial Day weekend, so that’s a good sign.”

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