Ottawa's Art in the Park still on for August

Organizers plan on including new safety regulations if needed

Many of Ottawa's summer events have been canceled or postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic but Art in the Park is still on schedule for August.

And event organizers are putting extra thought into how they can keep guests and artists safe depending on the state's guidelines in August.

Art in the Park Event Organizer Sharon Danielson confirmed Monday evening the event is still on for the first weekend in August at Washington Square in downtown Ottawa.

"The poor businesses downtown, they need this. And we don't get giant crowds, we get a nice steady stream of people," Danielson said referring to the visitors that end up stopping at local stores and the general size of crowds being fewer than the Riverfest concern or Wine Fest.

"All my artists are wanting to do this badly as they work all year and have made all this beautiful art," Danielson said.

She spoke with city officials who gave her the green light to prepare for the festival with the possibility of cancellation later should the situation worsen.

Still, Danielson is taking all the necessary steps to ensure both visitors and artists feel safe.

The tents will be spaced six feet apart and artists who may be concerned with multiple people touching an item can arrange their tent in a way where visibility of items is increased. Roughly 35 artists are planned to attend but they will be given refunds should they later decide to opt out of the festival. Further, Danielson said they can place people at each end of the festival if they have to control how many people can gather at the park at one time. Visitors could always walk downtown and return once the crowd has thinned.

Danielson said she hopes the downtown businesses continue their sidewalk sales during the festival as well as the popular American Association of University Women's Annual Book Sale.

It's Danielson's hope the festival could bring some much-needed routine and fun to the city of Ottawa following a situation that's been difficult for many.

"People need to have some normalcy in their lives. We're going to be stuck with this disease for a long time and we need to learn to work around it," Danielson said. "We need to be careful of those in danger but let those that make and run small businesses to open and be normal again."