Original Release: 7/29/2020
Lyndhurst Park could be quiet the entire weekend of Sept. 11-13, the dates the 95th annual Home Days had been scheduled. While Home Days have been canceled this year, Mayor Patrick Ward still hopes that a one-day event can be held.
Mayor Patrick Ward has made the decision to pull the plug on this year's Home Days -- while leaving himself a little wiggle room.
"We made the decision, with the environment the way it is, to cancel Home Days this year," Ward said. "With the ever-changing landscape and where the (COVID-19) hot spots are, and the current Level 3 in the (Cuyahoga) County, it gave the (Home Days) Committee pause."
Ward also mentioned that, shortly after the committee made its decision, Gov. Mike DeWine announced (July 28) restrictions that included prohibiting games, rides and other carnival activities at fairs that take place after July 31.
"The bigger question is, will we be able to do it safely?" Ward said of Home Days, which had been scheduled this year for Sept. 11-13 at Lyndhurst Park, behind City Hall. "Will people come, or will they be thinking there will be too many people?'
"We put off making the decision. It was a difficult one."
But, Ward added, "We may be able to do a one-off thing, make a game-day decision."
The "one-off" Ward explained, might just include music and ice cream to be scheduled the weekend for which Home Days had been planned. "We'll have to see what the (COVID) environment is like then," he said.
Home Days usually includes rides, food, games, vendors selling their goods, and several musical performances. Ward said the musical acts scheduled for this year have already agreed to perform in Lyndhurst next year's Home Days.
He also noted that booking vendors this year was made more difficult because vendors usually sell at a circuit of summer festivals, and with just about all of the area festivals already canceled, it was unclear as to which would be willing to make the trip to Northeast Ohio -- and Lyndhurst -- with no other nearby dates scheduled.
Canceling Home Days was particularly difficult for Ward for a couple of reasons.
"Home Days was my first involvement in the community," he said. "I believe that was in 1985. It gives us a chance to see everybody."
Second, Lyndhurst Home Days is was one of the longest continuing festivals in Ohio, as this would have been its 95th consecutive year. Keeping the string alive, if it can be done safely even for just one day, is appealing to the mayor.
"We've had two concerts (in the park) this summer and they've worked out really well," Ward said. Attendees wear masks, and the city is able to give out masks to those who don't have them, thanks to donations from local entities. In addition, chalk markings are used to ensure that proper social distancing takes place during the concerts and while ice cream is served.
The third -- and what is now scheduled as the final -- free concert in the park is set to take place at the gazebo from 7 to 9 p.m. Aug. 19, with musical act Erie Street Brass Ensemble. The concert will only take place weather permitting.
In pre-COVID days, when rain didn't allow an outdoor concert, the event would be moved indoors to the city's community center on the park's grounds.