Organizers Eye Return Of Summer season, Fall Events
As Michigan approaches its next vaccination milestone – from 55.4 percent of adults currently vaccinated to 60 percent. From this point on, the capacity limits for stadiums and arenas will rise to 25 percent nationwide – the organizers of events in the region are cautiously planning their comeback in summer and autumn. Some are looking forward to a full return to normal, like with major events scheduled for the fall at Turtle Creek Stadium, while others are still taking a hybrid or wait and see approach with earlier start dates.
Turtle Creek Stadium announced Wednesday that it will be hosting an “explosive, high-adrenaline action spectacle” on October 2nd in partnership with action sports brand Nitro Circus. The event, titled “Nitro Circus: You Got This,” will feature FMX, BMX, skate, and scooter athletes performing 60-foot jumps and other stunts in the Traverse City open-air stadium. Four-time nitro world champion and three-time X Games gold medalist Ryan Williams will perform as well as US BMX rider Kurtis Downs and professional mountain biker Dusty Wygle. A sales date for tickets will be announced shortly. Holders and partners of Traverse City Pit Spitters season tickets have early access to ticket sales.
“We’re excited to host the Nitro Circus at Turtle Creek Stadium this fall,” said Joe Chamberlin, CEO of Traverse City Pit Spitters and Turtle Creek Stadium Traverse City since taking over the stadium. “
Pit Spitters general manager Mickey Graham tells The Ticker that the stadium is already exploring other major events for the fall and hopes to announce more programs soon. Running events at full capacity – the stadium is currently at 20 percent capacity – will depend on the status of state COVID-19 restrictions and health guidelines in the coming months, Graham said.
These restrictions make it more of a challenge for events that happen earlier, including the National Cherry Festival. The festival already announced that some important in-person events will be canceled this year, including the Bayside Music Stage concerts and the US Air Force Thunderbirds Air Show. However, the Meijer Festival of Races, the Beer Tent, Arts & Craft Show, Old Town Car Show, Ultimate Air Dogs, Great American Duck Race, Midway and other events and attractions will continue to take place in person. On Tuesday, the organizers of the festival announced that this year the DTE Energy Foundation’s Cherry Royale Parade at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa will be transformed into a “standing parade” with the cars standing still and all spectators driving their cars by Parade to see Parade. “The event will take place on July 10th from 11 am to 2 pm.
One question that remains to be asked during festival week is whether there will be public fireworks over West Grand Traverse Bay on July 4th. Several Traverse City commissioners recently raised concerns about the public health and safety implications of granting the TC Boom Boom Club a permit to light fireworks, potentially killing thousands of people in spaces such as beaches and parks, in which no capacities are defined, are drawn into the city center or regulated entrances and exits.
Traverse City Mayor Pro Tem Amy Shamroe says she would like to hear more from TC Boom Boom Club officials and city staff before proceeding, especially when it comes to ensuring that all parties agree on the terms, under which the fireworks could take place, such as B. Social distancing practices in place or reaching a certain public vaccination threshold. Shamroe also wants to make sure it is clear that city permits can be revoked at short notice if there is a need to do so for reasons of public health or safety. “If we know how careful the city’s staff are (about public safety), it would only be possible if it was completely safe for the public,” she says. City clerk Benjamin Marentette tells The Ticker that the fireworks permit will be returned to the city commissioners at their meeting next Monday. Traverse City Fire Department chief Jim Tuller is expected to answer questions and concerns from the commission.
Concert and other art event planners also try to determine how to proceed with programming. The Interlochen Center for the Arts has announced that it will not hold concerts or public appearances in June and is monitoring conditions for the remainder of the summer. “If we can safely hold outdoor concerts in the Kresge Auditorium in July and / or August, we will follow all recommended safety measures such as face masking,” the organization said in a statement.
Some regional concert planners are promoting events with safety regulations, such as the Lake Street Music Festival @ Studio Stage, which will host four concerts in Glen Arbor in July and August that require masks and social distancing. The Traverse Symphony Orchestra (TSO) recently put tickets on sale for an upcoming 2021-22 season with live performances starting in October and lasting through April 2022. TSO, Traverse City Dance Project and Parallel 45 Theater will also host an outdoor event called “Arts in the Park” on August 3rd at the Civic Center with live music conducted by TSO Maestro Kevin Rhodes, dance choreography by Brent Whitney, Co-founder of the Traverse City Dance Project, and musical theater interludes directed by P45 co-founder Kit McKay. Tickets will go on sale in June. The proceeds will benefit future editions of the concert. The organizers hope they can host an annual event.
While the Traverse City National Writers Series (NWS) announced this week that their summer roster of five writers will all be presented as zoom virtual events, Executive Director Jillian Manning says the organization is insuring a possible return to in-person events at the City Opera Keep an eye on house in “late August or September, depending on the latest guidelines and restrictions.” Manning notes that NWS events are scheduled several months in advance and that most publishers are still not sending their writers on tour, which has made it necessary to present the summer season in a virtual format. However, NWS is talking to City Opera House supporters, publishers, writers, and staff about the best approach to bringing back live events. “If we want to bring events back, we want to make sure that people are comfortable when they come to them,” she says.
Even if live NWS events return, Manning notes the organization plans to continue offering a live stream of all of its events in the future – an option that many organizers recognized during the pandemic, opened their programming to viewers who would otherwise not could physically participate or afford live events. According to Manning, up to 25 percent of attendees at some NWS Zoom events last year came from outside of the state. “The virtual option is affordable and allows people to participate from anywhere in the world,” she says.
Photo credit: Nitro Circus