Summer Arts Festival still planned in limited capacity

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) The Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival is scheduled to continue this year in a limited capacity, pending further developments with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival is scheduled to take place from July 20th to July 26th. (Alex Bengel/KTVF)

According to the festival’s executive director James Menaker, traditionally the festival happens over two weeks and hosts around 200 events and workshops.

This year, because of concerns surrounding COVID-19, the festival is hosting 15 workshops and will be taking place from July 20-26. Instead of being spread throughout Fairbanks with a heavy presence at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Campus, as has been the case in previous years, the festival is primarily being held at three venues in town: Artisans Courtyard, the University Community Presbyterian Church and Journey Christian Church. These venues, according to Menaker, have enough space to provide for socially distanced participation.

All plans regarding the festival are open to change depending on state mandates. Menaker hopes that nothing changes before the festival commences, but understands that if the case count in Alaska continues to rise, the effect may be felt in attendee numbers and the ability of four out-of-state workshop conductors to make it to Fairbanks.

“Mandates that come from the state are likely going to be very different a month from now than they are at the moment. So we are holding all of our plans and venues loosely. Things could change within the next couple weeks where we have to reinvent where we’re going to be and how we’re going to be holding classes," he said.

Menaker has served as the executive director of the festival for three years. He said the COVID-19 pandemic, among other factors, has hurt the festival financially.

“Most of our sponsors have dropped out or not been available because they’re rough economic times,” Menaker said, adding that this development has led to a smaller amount of event promotion, now primarily occurring through social media.

Menaker said the plan is for the Summer Arts Festival to continue next year despite the financial difficulties. “We are going to be able to keep the doors open, but just barely,” he said.

More information about the festival can be found at fsaf.org/.

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