Several downtown events have crowds coming out in Wilkes-Barre

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WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A night of socially-distanced summer fun outdoors in the city of Wilkes-Barre brought out crowds of hundreds.

But some remain hesitant about the future of gatherings amid the uptick in COVID cases. An escape from reality of sorts as the Diamond City came to life with three free events featuring hot rods, live music, and recreational activities. But some of the people Eyewitness News spoke with say the latest twist in the coronavirus crisis is increasingly concerning.

“Outside I feel safe, and I will enjoy everything outdoors there is to offer in this area,” Karin Spak of Yatesville said.

Safety. A key component of summer 2021. Luzerne County’s Rockin’ the River concert series wrapped up for the season Friday night amid a growing number of new COVID-19 cases, the most since late May. An alarming update many hoped to drown out with the sound of music.

A few traffic lights away at public square, dozens of cars, old and new, from orange to blue, lined up for the return of Crusin’ the Square. COVID concerns were a hot topic among the hot rods here.

“That delta variant, it frightens me, so to be safe I keep my mask on,” Oliver Tooley of Wilkes-Barre said.

Some wore masks, others didn’t and according to the Department of Health, only about half of the state’s entire population has been vaccinated.

“Hope and pray that this thing will be over with soon. People come out and get vaccinated, you know what I mean, because that’s what’s gonna slow this thing down,” Tooley said.

Across the Susquehanna River, 40 kayakers ended their hours-long journey from West Pittston to Nesbit Park at the return of Riverfest.

“It’s like the most relaxing thing you can do, and you’re far away from everybody so it’s still social distancing, unless you have a two-person kayak but, that’s no fun either,” Rachelle Strausser of Wilkes-Barre said.

All in the hopes that nights like this can continue by avoiding another COVID crisis.

“It would be devastating to have those restrictions again, but I will do it to be safe and I will wear a mask to keep everybody else safe,” Spak said.

The Wilkes-Barre City Health Department will have its mobile vaccine clinic at Riverfest Saturday. Anyone can get a free vaccine shot from noon to 3 p.m.

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