Several outdoor fall events in DMV canceled as concerns over COVID-19 variants rise

Even with few or hardly any COVID-19 related restrictions on outdoor events, several organizers around the DMV are still canceling them anyway.

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"There really was no way to manage high touch areas," said Shellie Williams, chief of the City of Gaithersburg cultural events and services division.

The city has cancelled its annual Oktoberfest celebration, which was scheduled for Sunday, October 10 in Kentlands citing concerns surround the Delta variant.

"There were too many points of contacts for people where they are touching things, touching each other, we just really felt that it was unsafe for us and to our people in this position and we could not monitor social distancing."

In other parts of Montgomery County, the 32nd annual Taste of Bethesda scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 2, that attracts 45,000 attendees every year, will not take place due to what organizers said, is continued concern over the rising numbers of COVID-19 and its variants.

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Stephanie Coppula, director of marketing and communications with Bethesda Urban Partnership said they don’t have enough volunteers helping them this year, some of whom she said, just don’t feel comfortable handling crowds of about 45,000 people.

Coppula said that several of the 50 plus restaurants which would have been participating, have also decided to pull out, in addition, to their sponsors.

FOX 5’s Ayesha Khan asked Coppula why the partnership would cancel holding an outdoor event where people could show proof of vaccination or wear masks, while at the same time some people may compare it to how other outdoor events are being held and managed such as football or baseball games, as thousands of people have been packing into stadiums."Being a for-profit organization with lots and lots of people they can hire to run a stadium, is a lot different than being a small downtown organization that depends on volunteers, local restaurants, local staff, and local sponsors and so we don’t like to do things unless we can do it 100 percent," Coppula said.

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In the District, organizers with the hip-hop music event, Broccoli City music festival stated on their website that they are canceling their event as well. 

The 2021 performance lineup included Lil Baby, Snoh Aalegra, Moneybagg Yo, Lucky Dave, Rubi Rose and more. The hip-hop concert was scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 2 at RFK Stadium and typically hosts around 30,000 attendees. 

Montgomery County health officials told Khan that the county does not have any control over who cancels which event and why, in fact, the county encourages outdoor events with out any outdoor county mandates in place.