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Valley events ‘entertain’ COVID-19 adjustments

Posted 6/16/20

A party-crashing pandemic temporarily suspended global activities, and life in general, but anticipation abounds as the Valley gears up for July Fourth fireworks, festivals, fellowship and having more outings in phases.

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Valley events ‘entertain’ COVID-19 adjustments

Editor's Note: As of June 17, Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers canceled  the Scottsdale July 4th appearance;  as of June 23, the old-fashioned Parade of Heroes was  also canceled for scheduled entertainment. This story has been updated to reflect the changes and  new announcements will be included as updates are available.

A party-crashing pandemic temporarily suspended global activities, and life in general, but anticipation abounds as the Valley gears up for July Fourth fireworks, festivals, fellowship and having more outings in phases.

While regular routines and operations may not return to “normal” anytime soon, local entertainment steadily returns with upcoming events filled with new norms of “social distancing” and drive through accommodations, namely with Scottsdale’s Seventh Annual Fourth of July Celebration set to spark as gates open at 7 p.m. on Saturday, July 4 at WestWorld of Scottsdale, 16601 N. Pima Road.

See Scottsdale4th.com about details including ticket prices for the themed: “A Rockin’ 4th Drive-up Celebration in an untraditional, social distancing setting as patrons  enjoy the show from their cars. 

Fireworks begin at  9 p.m. with a backdrop against the McDowell Mountains.

“Anytime we can kind of get back to ‘normal’ is a good sign. We like to air on the side of hope and not hopelessness,” said Kerry Dunne, principal of R Entertainment, describing COVID-19 precautions and protocols added to Scottsdale’s Independence Day celebration at WestWorld.

Patrons are encouraged to only attend the event with others in their “immediate quarantine community” and remain in their assigned parking spaces except for using restrooms or purchasing concessions.

Officials advise to stay home if sick, feverish; traveled within the last 14 days or were exposed to COVID-19. Safety even entails some staff wearing masks and gloves.

“The car concerts strike that balance for consumers to consume entertainment and remain safe during these challenging times. It will be very similar to our traditional Scottsdale 4th of July event, with the additional overlay of the COVID-19 safety precautions and protocols. It’s still about the artist and stage, sound and light.

The challenge this year is getting everyone parked with correct social distancing parameters and make sure everyone has a good time,” Mr. Dunne said of the event that more than 10,000 people attended in previous years.

Despite misgivings on “how to pull it off” after the pandemic hit, in March, he was enthused about planning an “amazing, and possibly the most unusual event that we’ve ever produced. It will be a great experience for our patrons,” he said, especially since it benefits the notMYkid organization, which inspires positive life choices for youths by providing children and families with programs, support, resources and education to combat challenges.

“Scottsdale Fourth, of course, will return to how it usually was in the past, However, everyone will remember how they celebrated the Fourth of July in 2020. It’ll be memorable,” Mr. Dunne added.

“We’ve never done a live concert with a performer like Roger Clyne and The Peacemakers. We’ve never created a parade of heroes, honoring teachers, nurses, doctors, grocery store workers, firefighters, police, and veterans who have given so much during these times. We suspect that honoring heroes will become a tradition for years to come at our Scottsdale Fourth of July celebration.”

Another event this summer is artist Daniel Shepherd’s solo exhibit called, “Reconstructed,” which Royse Contemporary premiered online June 1, aptly describes what many in the local arts and entertainment community have recently done to adjust to COVID-19 cancelations, postponements and revamping.

“With the current changes and state of COVID-19, I have made the decision to reopen with limited summer hours,” said Nicole Royse, gallery owner/art consultant/curator of the scheduled 6-9 p.m., Thursday and 12-4 p.m., Saturday hours beginning June 4 at the gallery in Scottsdale Arts District’s Marshall Square complex, 7077 E. Main Street, barring no changes occur.

Ms. Royse noted that she will wear proper protection and take needed precautions for herself and collectors, while limiting attendance to allow time for heightened cleaning procedures.

Continuing to offer show tours, have all work available online; book private appointments; or make in home appointments, she was happy to reopen since the gallery closed on March 14 during the peak of art and tourist season, causing three exhibitions to be postponed until the fall or early next year.

Adapting to the new climate of changes, Ms. Royse said her “priority was to protect the community” and herself despite the lost attendance and revenue in recent months.

She thanked her collectors for continuing to shop online at roysecontemporary.com.

“I have always maintained very active social media for the gallery and my artists which has been utilized throughout. I have had Zoom lectures with my artists, done video tours of the gallery and spotlighted work throughout,” she said, adding that she is happy to resume her highly-attended opening and closing events.

The Scottsdale Jazz Festival Director William “Doc” Jones, who has a doctorate’s degree in music education, said he hopes the virus subsides in time for the free concert from 12 to 6 p.m., Nov. 28 at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts Fountain Stage, which was rescheduled from Jazz Appreciation Month in April.

He is working on plans to ensure safety that may include temperature checks for attendees, social distancing, wearing masks. More details and updates can be found at jazzdayaz.com.

“This was going to be the biggest year. The City of Scottsdale was totally behind us,” Dr. Jones said of the jazz fest presented the City of Scottsdale and Molina’s Fine Jewelers to benefit The International Jazz Day Foundation.

Dr. Jones began local efforts for the international musical outing spearheaded by famed musician Herbie Hancock.

In addition to boosting the economy with tourism dollars, he stated that the festival’s main purpose is to expose more children to the arts while uniting the state around the genre that was “created in America and exported all over the world.”

The Cosanti Foundation also looks forward to returning to presenting its events, programs, and workshops with speakers, topics, and times listed at arcosanti.org.

However, only tours are offered at Arcosanti at this time. Some programs, like hands-on workshops, concerts, and the Living With The Land Lecture Series slated this past spring are rescheduled for the fall.

“We had had many great ideas to engage with our workshop alumni, our residents and employees, and the public about the 50th Anniversary of the groundbreaking of Arcosanti much of which took place during the spring, traditionally our busiest time.

Unfortunately, the pandemic impacted those plans. We still look forward to celebrating and hope to find new ways to tell the story of Arcosanti’s founding and its relevance today,” said Kelly Bird, Cosanti Foundation marketing director.

Likewise, the Arizona Science Center announced its gradual, reopening including limiting guests to 20 participants for immersive themes, while maintaining physical/social distancing in the Science Center; plus taking safety precautions and closing the Center on Tuesdays for deep cleaning.

“The health and safety of all our guests and team members is a primary focus at Arizona Science Center, and we are developing plans and operational policies with that focus in mind,” said Chevy Humphrey, The Hazel A. Hare president/CEO, Arizona Science Center, in a prepared statement.

“The phased approach will allow us to prioritize health and safety while taking progressive steps to restore regular operations.”

The Scottsdale Public Library opened its buildings in a limited capacity in response to the public health and economic environment concerns from the pandemic. Civic Center and Mustang Libraries libraries are open to the public. Appaloosa and Arabian libraries will continue offering drive-thru services.

Although in-person programs are suspended, efforts are underway to restore all programs soon, according to scottsdalelibrary.org/COVID19, noting how the global pandemic “has certainly imposed challenges to our usual library service mode.”

Meanwhile, the summer reading program for the whole family is taking place.

The Heard Museum in Phoenix also reopened with new safety and cleanliness policies and procedures in June along with amended hours. Online pre-purchase admission is encouraged for visitors, who can save up to $3 for each online ticket purchase at heard.org.