By Frances Weller | May 8, 2020 at 2:29 PM EDT – Updated May 8 at 2:29 PM
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – As the Wilmington area prepares to enter into Phase One of Gov. Roy Cooper’s executive order, many organizers of events that were scheduled for the spring are now aiming for the fall.
There is growing concern there could be a traffic jam of concerts, galas, and festivals by the time North Carolina fully reopens.
The North Carolina Azalea Festival was one of the first events to cancel the annual April event at the start of the pandemic.
it was also one of the first to reschedule the concerts for October.
“Similarly, the Fourth of July events in Southport cancelled very quickly and at the time that was four months down the road, but that takes a lot of planning and the more I thought about it the more I understood it,” says Ranald Totten.
Totten is the publisher of Whats on Wilmington, an online website that provides a calendar of local events.
While it’s clear most events over the past six weeks have been cancelled or postponed, it’s what will be rescheduled and when that leaves event-goers and people like Totten wondering what’s still on in Wilmington.
“Yes it does,” Totten says. “I try to keep up and I’ve done a ton of rescheduling. Greenfield Lake Amphitheater has their whole season and a lot of its changed to the fall. Kenan Auditorium has a lot of changes, Thalian Hall, obviously, and the Wilson Center–the biggies.”
The executive director of the Wilson Center says they are preparing for a soft opening in early summer with limited audiences.
By fall, the hope is to open for bigger performances and fill the 1600 seat capacity.
“That will probably be at this point when we are full on throttle and that is given with the information we have now,” says Shane Fernando, Executive and Artistic Director of the Wilson Center.
Regina Hawes, the director of the Epicurean Evening–an annual chef-driven event that raises money for the Methodist Home for Children says she decided early on to cancel the event scheduled for September 3.
“Our first committee meeting was on the Thursday that the ACC tournament was cancelled and that was the beginning of the end,” Hawes says. “With all the restaurants that are involved, we had to go ahead and make a decision.”
Hawes hopes to have some type of the fundraiser before next year as she says the needs at the Methodist Home for Children are greater than they’ve ever been.
That early call, though, makes it easy for Totten of Whats on Wilmington. In the meantime, it’s a wait and see on other events and festivals on if and when they will reschedule.
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