The COVID-19 pandemic is continuing to force the cancellation of summer events in Wayzata.
In the interest of public safety, organizers behind this year’s Music in the Park and Music by the Lake series recently called off the weekly concerts that were to begin in June.
Music in the Park is sponsored by the Wayzata Parks and Trails Board and Music by the Lake is sponsored by the Wayzata Rotary Club.
City staff members met with club members to discuss possible ways to continue the series but ultimately decided to cancel the concerts for the health and safety of the community. The concerts would have also violated the latest executive order from Gov. Tim Walz, which prohibits gatherings of more than 10 people.
“We know a lot of people in the community were hoping both community music events would continue this summer,” said Director of Public Works Mike Kelly. “After careful consideration and much thought, it was determined there was no way we could realistically move forward with Music in the Park and Music by the Lake this summer.”
In January, the Greater Wayzata Area Chamber of Commerce announced that the Wayzata Art Experience would take the year off due to construction work on Lake Street. The annual art festival, which draws thousands of visitors to Lake Street to view works from more than 100 artists, had been scheduled for June 27-28.
More recently, other community events were called off for the late June weekend, including the fifth year of the Wayzata Match Cup sailing regatta and the third year of the Bash for the Boardwalk concert series. Organizers for the Match Cup said the event is currently postponed, but a new date has not yet been set.
The Fourth of July Flying Pancake Breakfast was also recently canceled. This year would have been the event’s 14th year at the Wayzata Depot. The lakeside celebration, hosted by the Lake Minnetonka Children of the American Revolution, typically features a ceremony honoring local U.S. war veterans and guests lining up to catch “flying” pancakes flung from a griddle.
The event, which regularly draws around 1,500 visitors, began as a service project by youth members of the Lake Minnetonka Children of the American Revolution as a way to present an educational event that honors veterans.
“How would we social distance? We thought of tickets and timing, but you can’t tell people they only have 45 minutes to be in the park,” said Victoria Ahlquist, who has helped plan the Fourth of July celebration for the past four years.
Ahlquist said the typically crowded event would have also put the older veterans at risk and that it would have been difficult for the all-volunteer organization to manage the crowd while asking visitors to socially distance themselves.
A virtual event is not being planned, Ahlquist said, but the organization is working to post on its Facebook page photos and biographies of war veterans who have participated in previous years of the event. She also encouraged community members to call and message veterans as a way to thank and recognize them this Fourth of July.
Another long-running event, the Fourth of July Kiddie Parade, was also canceled. Since the early 1950s, neighbors have dressed in red, white and blue and gathered for the parade of families.
“Our ‘parade team’ has been avoiding making this decision, like others … hoping for a miracle that is not to be realized,” said Sandy Harvey, a longtime Wayzata resident who has helped organize the parade for 30 years. “We look forward to celebrating the pageantry and fun with all the children and their families next year. Until then, we wish everyone a safe, healthy year.”
Organizers for the city’s Fourth of July Mini-Olympics, typically hosted on the football field at Wayzata West Middle School, said the event hasn’t officially been canceled, but that there’s a very good possibility that it will be.
Wayzata’s Fourth of July cancellations follow the Excelsior-Lake Minnetonka Chamber of Commerce’s decision to call off the 132nd year of the Lake Minnetonka Fourth of July Celebration and fireworks show.
“Our responsibility to the safety of our volunteers, visitors and the public at large is paramount and has always been our number one priority,” organizers said.
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