School is out and summer weather is … teasing us?
Last weekend we had beautiful balmy sunny days. This week, 2020 said “not so fast.” Kind of like it has since February with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Those of us who look forward to events like the annual Strawberry Festival in Rocky Mount, baseball and softball games, fairs, concerts and even some vacations are left wondering what the summer will bring.
Restaurants are beginning to reopen to outdoor seating — during what feels like the rainiest week ever — which just goes to show how unpredictable the next few months will be.
Will people want to sit outside in 90-degree heat and dine?
How much rain will we get this summer?
When restrictions relax even further, how many might still stay home because of COVID-19 concern?
We know so far that several events even into October are cancelled – including the Blue Ridge Institute and Museum’s Blue Ridge Folklife Festival — a decision that was certainly a painstaking one.
Part of the problem is that so much planning goes into these events.
Organizers have to factor in what event participants are doing, where they are coming from, what restrictions look like there, too, as well as considering the struggles event sponsors are experiencing because of the pandemic and related business loss.
Summer concerts? Unlikely. Antique Farm Days? Canceled. Ag Fair? Also, canceled. NASCAR? Running, but without fans, a move that is no doubt costly for the sports organization and the towns that it visits.
Certainly local hotels and restaurants are affected by the upcoming June 10 Martinsville race that will happen, but without fans.
At least it gives us some sports to watch on TV, while the fate of both local sports and professional and college sports is decided.
Yes, indeed, a summer season unlike any other is before us. But perhaps we are more fortunate than some others here in Franklin County, where some summer mainstays are still in our reach. Sitting outside and looking at the stars, brilliant in this wonderful rural area. Smith Mountain Lake or Philpott Lake offer a plethora of socially distant activities from kaying to boating. Crickets chirping in the evening, and the rise of the fireflies at twilight.
We can still fire up our grills, and toss on the burgers and hot dogs filling our backyards with the aroma of charcoal burning amid the sounds of laughter as we gather with our families at our homes.
We hope, as you do, that coronavirus concerns are lessened as summer marches on, although that will take continued vigilance by all of us to following the guidelines of social distancing and all the rest.
But in the meantime, as we approach Memorial Day, happy summer y’all. Let’s make the best of it.