Pandemic changing, not stopping summer events in Wilkes-Barre

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WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Some summer events in the Diamond City will continue in 2021 but may look a little different.

The pandemic canceled many summer events last year but with the vaccination numbers rising Wilkes-Barre is seeing a return to normalcy.

“We are bringing our city back to normalcy and getting the people to come outside and enjoy the parades and the other functions that we’re used to having, but we couldn’t have over the last year and a half,” said Wilkes-Barre Mayor George Brown.

As tents were put up around public square in Wilkes-Barre on Tuesday, Mayor George Brown talked about the highly anticipated return of annual summer events. The first, a socially distanced version of the fine arts fiesta set to kick off this weekend.

“Instead of the food trucks, we have our downtown restaurants. And instead of live music on the square, on Saturday we’re going to be hosting our first ‘sunsets on south main’ in midtown village,” stated Larry Newman, Executive Director of Diamond City Partnership.

Newman says the fiesta is a starting point for other summer festivities, as vaccination rates increase and COVID-19 restrictions begin to lift.

Connor Trail, a Junior at Kings College, says he’s looking forward to the return of community events.

“Food and entertainment, and just a general atmosphere of comfort around strangers and other people come back like there was before,” said Trail.

Another fan favorite, the city’s 4th of July celebration at Kirby Park. According to Mayor Brown, it, too, might have to be scaled down, because the city relies on donations to cover the costs.

“Unfortunately, it’s been a tough year economically for most and many donors, that are currently not in a position to donate, and are unable to contribute their usual amounts,” stated Mayor Brown.

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