CAÑON CITY, Colorado — A scaled-down Music and Blossom Festival is planned for next month in Cañon City. Local leaders want to maintain the annual tradition as a means to help the community heal, but they also want to avoid attracting too large of a crowd.
In a normal year, anywhere from 15,000 to 30,000 people would visit Cañon from out of town during the festival. However, City Administrator Ryan Stevens said event organizers are intentionally avoiding publicity to keep this year's event small.
"We're just doing a parade and the craft fair this year, and really focusing on that parade for the community," Stevens said.
There won't be a Cluster Duck concert in the park this year. The carnival and beer garden will also be missing. Another noticeable absence will be the marching bands.
Stevens explained that many schools simply aren't traveling this year as a precaution against the virus. However, that development will likely keep the number of visitors lower this year.
The city and the parade committee worked closely with the Fremont County health department to create a plan for the event. They've purchased extra sanitizer stations and attendees will be asked to observe public health precautions like keeping a safe distance from each other.
"We're all on the same page, we agree that this is something that's beneficial for our community," said Stevens.
"We still have to be careful, we still have to be cautious about large groups, and social interactions," added Greg DiRito, a local restaurant owner and the vice president of the event committee.
While they're not outright telling visitors don't come, DiRito stressed that the goal of holding the event is to help the local community to get back a sense of normalcy.
"We see this opportunity as a way to bring something back to our community to kind of light at the end of the tunnel for this whole scenario we've been dealing with this last year," DiRito said.
The parade will begin at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 1. This year's theme is "Break into Blossom" in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Colorado Territorial Correction Facility.
The registration deadline for floats and walking groups to submit their applications is Wednesday, April 21.