SAN ANGELO, TX – Outdoor events are a staple of the summer season in Texas and even though the pandemic canceled multiple events, San Angeloans will have the opportunity to enjoy an event later this summer.
On Tuesday, the City Council of San Angelo approved the Beer, Bands, and BBQ Bazaar. The two-day event is scheduled for July 24 – 25 and will feature live music, local restaurants, and food trucks. According to the plans submitted by organizers, the event will also feature three children’s bounce houses and water slides and a petting zoo.
Prior to voting several of the council members voiced their concerns and questions regarding the organizer's ability to keep attendees safe as Tom Green County experiences a significant increase in cases this week, 74 in five days.
“When I looked at that [plan] I just wondered how that would happen and with our positive cases going up is this really something we should be doing at this time,” said Councilmember Billie Dewitt. “People right now are treating this as though COVID-19 has gone away. When you go into the supermarkets, when you go into the big box stores hardly anyone is wearing a mask.”
According to the organizer Chris Ling, the event will include health measures that aim to keep attendants safe. The event will be held at the Spring Creek Marina thus allowing guests to social distance. All guests must enter through one entry gate where they will be screened using touch less thermometers.
The event will also provide hand sanitizer stations, masks and PPE will be encouraged, and organizers will maintain records for contact tracing if necessary.
Masks cannot be made mandatory by local government, but private businesses can require guests or customers to wear masks.
“We will be testing everyone that comes into the event for fever,” said Ling. “We are going to have staff throughout the event encouraging separation and social spacing.”
According to the City Attorney Theresa James, the local health authority, Dr. Vretis, had reviewed the proposed plan and found it complied with the state-mandated health guidelines. James clarified Dr.Vretis had reviewed the plan before the spike.
Councilmember Tommy Hiebert inquired about the possibility of going 1,000 people, but the organizer clarified that they would control the amount of the people at the event by only allowing one entrance and keeping a headcount.
The event will be benefiting a local charity, Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue. The charity is dedicated to providing a “safe and loving environment to all donkeys that have been abused, neglected, or abandoned and wild burros under threat of destruction.”
The rescue, located on Duckworth Rd., houses over 700 donkeys on their premises. Visitors can tour the facilities, adopt a donkey, or become a volunteer.
"The money that is raised goes to the care and feeding of the animals," said Michele Halfmann of Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue. "Without the help of the public, we couldn't keep going. Without those donations, we would not exist."
During Tuesday's meeting, the city council voted unanimously to approve the event.
“I think the event sounds like a great event. I am sure its an event the citizens of San Angelo would certainly enjoy and appreciate and as long we have all the requirements in place and have the ability to control the number of people…I think it is certainly something that will have a strong appeal to people,” said Mayor Gunter.