Villagefest is returning for Fourth of July weekend in downtown Palm Springs. The street fair has been shut down since the initial stay-at-home order was issued in March 2020.
The festival will have to shrink in size to accommodate social distancing and newly built outdoor dining areas. But organizers said they’re just glad to see things starting to return to normal.
“We’re really looking forward to being able to have everybody from outside the city and inside the valley get back together out on the streets,” said Darryl Flick, chairman of the Villagefest board.
City council Thursday night approved a gradual return for the popular Thursday night street festival starting July 1. Phase one is limited to a small section of downtown, including Palm Canyon Drive from Amado Road to Tahquitz Canyon Way, and portions of Museum Way and Belardo Road.
The decision was made, in part, because outdoor dining parklets continue to block much of the street. “More of a limited footprint because of the parklets,” Flick said. “We’ll address that down the road, but for phase one, we’re getting the chance to be back out there.”
The reduced capacity means that fewer vendors can participate. Villagefest board member Julie Montante said local businesses will get priority. “We’re going to pick and choose some of our vendors and take a lot of our local vendors first, because we only have so many spaces,” she said.
Festival organizers are expecting to amp up sanitizing and safety procedures. “We’ll have increased hand stations, increased wipe down, we’re going to encourage cashless transactions,” Flick said.
There was also mention Thursday night in city council of allowing cannabis businesses to set up shop at Villagefest. They would not be permitted to sell product or merchandise, but could set up booths to drive customers to their stores.
Montante, who owns three cannabis businesses in the city, is for the idea. “If they hand out information, we can all share,” she said. “The cannabis business is about all of us, not just one of us.”
The city is also gearing up for a “mock Villagefest” on June 15 to celebrate the state’s reopening. At this point, masks are expected to be required at the festival.