Lake Havasu City’s events season comes roaring back this weekend with the 25th annual Buses by the Bridge gathering at Lake Havasu State Park. It’s followed by a parade of some of Havasu’s signature events, including the Havasu Balloon Festival and Fair, Little Delbert Days, Winterfest, Winter Blast and the Rockabilly Reunion. Some of the events, like the Balloon Festival, are returning in full for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic, so it’s incredibly important for organizers to get it right. And yet, we find ourselves in the middle of the biggest surge in covid-19 cases over the past two years.
The unfortunate timing is a test for our community, which relies on these kinds of events to keep visitors coming and sustain local businesses. This is not a new debate — Since the beginning of the pandemic nearly two years ago, local officials have debated whether it’s possible to hold large outdoor events and not have them turn into superspreaders. We’ll know soon enough.
It’s probably not necessary to have heavy-handed government agencies decide which events can happen. Doing so only builds resentment as rules are applied arbitrarily.
Common sense is key. It’s not a popular accessory in Lake Havasu City, but wearing a mask when you’re around hundreds or thousands of strangers will help prevent the spread to some degree. Keeping your distance as much as possible is still a good idea. There’s some amount of risk no matter what you do — that’s why vaccinations are a smart decision. It’s true that they aren’t keeping people from getting or spreading the virus, but the vaccines do seem to be keeping symptoms mild for those who do contract it. If you’re not vaccinated, it’s a good idea to avoid large crowds.
For better or worse, Havasu’s success depends upon a robust events season. Let’s do what we can to ensure they can happen even in the midst of a health crisis. We can get this right.
— Today’s News-Herald