Two community events that have become staples in the village, have been canceled due to the coronavirus. The annual Marshall Lions’s Club Riverfest and Marshall Main Street Mania, sponsored by the Marshall Area Business Association (MABA), have been officially canceled.
Lion’s Club civic affairs committee chair Kevin Moreland confirmed the cancelation of Riverfest, which featured a steak and lobster dinner, on Monday. The long-time event is typically held on a Saturday in early August. This would have been the 28th year of the Riverfest and Steak & Lobster Dinner.
Along with the pre-purchased meal, the Lion’s Club event held at Marshall Firemen’s Park featured free family-friendly activities like the popular cardboard boat race, Marshall FFA petting zoo, car show, Euchre tournament, and raffles.
Riverfest and the Steak & Lobster Dinner is one of two major fundraising events the Lion’s Club hosts annually. The money is used to directly help community members who are in need through a variety of initiatives. Last summer, the organization sold 1,000 steak and lobster dinners.
Main Street Mania provides the opportunity for Marshall businesses to give back to the community. Unfortunately, with the numerous updates to the Forward Dane plan issued by Public Health Madison & Dane County (PHMDC), the MABA board was finding it challenging to prepare for the event.
According to an email from MABA Vice President Ryan Russell: “We kept this option open as long as possible to consider scaled-back versions that would ensure a healthy event and also provide an opportunity for our community to celebrate. Although I am confident we can provide a healthy event, it is difficult to keep planning when Dane County may put limits on participants. We will not put our local police in the position of counting and enforcing our crowds.”
The event, slated for Sept. 26, is hosted downtown Marshall and features entertainment for children and adults. Last year, the popular touch-a-truck display was added, allowing people to get an up close look at various emergency vehicles such as ambulances and fire trucks, and municipal vehicles like snow plows. It also marked the second year of a popular cork pull fundraiser, along with the yearly staples including a kids’ zone, bean bag tournament, hay rides, raffles, music and food.
Funds raised during the event are used to benefit the village and its residents through several programs.
Riverfest and Main Street Mania join a growing list of events canceled for 2020 due to coronavirus including the Waterloo Fourth of July celebration, the State Fair, Summerfest, Jefferson, Dane and Dodge county fairs, and the Taste of Madison, among numerous other summer staples.
Main Street Mania was previously canceled in 2015 due to a decrease in MABA officers and volunteers to plan and run Main Street Mania. The downtown block party returned in 2016.
Recently, PHMDC decided to scale back on reopening businesses and allowing for social gathering.
After Dane County moved into Phase 2 of reopening on June 15 as a result of meeting criteria outlined in Forward Dane, a sharp increase in the number of positive coronavirus tests amended the order, limiting private gatherings to 10 or fewer people and keeping bar and restaurant capacity at 50% but requiring customers stay seated at all times effective June 25. Six days later, more restrictions to Phase 2 were implemented; effective July 2 all indoor gatherings were restricted to 10 or fewer people not including employees, all outdoor gatherings were restricted to 25 or fewer individuals not including employees, indoor seating capacity at restaurants were reduced to 25%, and no indoor dining was permitted at bars.
“Our community is at a critical juncture in our fight against COVID-19. Too many people have ignored public health guidelines regarding social distancing. This, in turn, has resulted in the rapid spread of the virus throughout the county. We need everyone to take this seriously and adhere to the guidelines and recommendations that are proven to reduce the spread of COVID-19 or we will face the very real possibility of having to resort to even stricter guidelines,” Dane County Executive Parisi said in a July 1 release.
According to Public Health Madison & Dane County, the county will not be loosening restrictions for at least a month. When the county enters Phase 3, up to 100 people would be allowed to gather outside and Phase 4 would allow up to 250 people to gather outside. Attendees would be requested to maintain social distancing during this time, according to the Forward Dane plan.
The Wisconsin Department of Health on Monday reported that as of that day, 2,457 COVID-19 tests came back positive since it began tracking the virus on Feb. 1. Thirty-two deaths have been attributed to coronavirus.
On Tuesday, PHMDC issued an order requiring face coverings for all people ages 5 and older when in an enclosed building where other people, except for members of the person’s own household or living unit, could be present.
The order applies to all of Dane County and goes into effect at 8 a.m. Monday, July 13.
Per the order, people must wear a face covering that covers their nose and mouth when in public, which includes in businesses, health care settings, waiting in line, and on public transportation. The order also requires individuals to wear face coverings when in someone else’s home.
Exceptions are made for certain activities such as eating at a restaurant, but during those activities, 6 feet distancing of individuals not from the same household or living unit is required at all times. Some people are also exempted if they have a physical, mental, or developmental condition that prevents them from wearing a mask.