Downtown Street Fair likely won’t happen in 2020

A juggling troupe entertains attendees at the 2019 Downtown Street Fair on Central Avenue. -- Herald file photo.

Prince Albert’s Downtown Street Fair hasn’t been formally cancelled, but organizers say it’s unlikely the event will happen this year.

The Prince Albert Downtown Improvement District (PADBID) postponed the annual event on April 28. While the provincial government has started lifting COVID-19 restrictions, PADBID executive director Carolyn Carleton said it’s likely too late to organize and host the street fair.

“It’s going to probably take a while just for people to feel safe and comfortable out again,” Carleton said during an interview on Friday. “We’ve spent so much time inside, and I think … that’s made people a little more apprehensive about getting out and doing things.

“Yesterday afternoon I did some errands and I couldn’t believe how many people were honking their horns and rushing … and it felt like there was a lot of anxiety. I think it’s going to take a while for people to feel comfortable going out and doing things that involve a large group of people. I honestly can’t really see street fair being allowed to operate this year.”

Carleton said they’d love to hold a special one-year event in the fall to take the street fair’s place, although they haven’t laid out any plans for what that would look like. She views it as a chance for families to get outside and be active downtown, but without the large crowds.

She’s also hopeful that Culture Days will still be allowed to go ahead in the fall, although that may look a little different too. For now, her focus is the event that will replace the street fair.

“I’m looking at if there’s something on a smaller scale that we can do that would be available, and trying to coordinate something like that,” she said. “I have a few ideas brewing about what we can do.”

The cap of public gatherings will rise from 10 to 15 once the provincial government implements phase three of its five-phase, and from 15 to 30 in phase four. There is no set implementation date for either of those phases. Retail businesses such as sporting goods stores, clothing stores and pawn shops can reopen on May 19, as can salons, barber shops, massage therapists and other health related services.

Carleton said they’d love to host a street fair in the fall, if given the opportunity, but reiterated that it likely won’t happen.

“If you look at the different phases that the health authority has given, I don’t see how it might be possible this year,” she explained. “We’re holding out hope that it may be able to happen, because I think the community needs something.” The 2019 Downtown Street Fair was held on June 15.