Events planning a comeback after being canceled in 2020

Published: Apr. 15, 2021 at 10:12 PM CDT
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WINNEBAGO COUNTY, Ill. (WIFR) - If you’re ready to see some dancing or dive into a plate full of Italian sausages, keep your calendars open for the first weekend in August. Festa Italiana plans a return after a year off due to COVID-19.

“We are super excited,” said Joi Parlapiano, board member of Festa Italiana. “We really missed 2020 for sure. We are working on our entertainment, it’s pretty much almost set.”

In Pecatonica, the Memorial Day Parade Committee made it their primary goal to hold the event this year as 2020 marked an important milestone.

“Last year was our 150th year for the Pecatonica parade,” said Parade Coordinator Ted Deppe. “Not having it last year broke a very long streak. One way or another we knew we’d find a way to have it. We actually started back in January and early February planning.”

Planning began so far in advance to adhere to COVID-19 protocols, many of which are still in place.

“Obviously we have to go by some of the guidelines and it’s all about comfort level,” Deppe said. “But it’s an outdoor event so we have a little more latitude.”

Event organizers realize they are at the mercy of local health departments as they are the ones that give the green light for events to go on.

“Because of COVID-19, we are working closely with the health department seeing if we can even have it and what we have to do to have it,” Parlapiano said.

Both Deppe and Parlapiano say the key to return to normal in the summer of 2021 is for everyone to follow the rules.

“My wife and I took over the parade two years ago and we were surprised at what it takes to organize something like this, but we’re ready to go,” Deppe said. “We’ve been sitting around for months thinking about it.”

“We hope it’s bigger and better since we missed a year,” Parlapiano said. “We are really looking forward to it and we’ll make it as safe as possible.”.

The Pecatonica Memorial Day Parade is on the holiday, Monday, May 31 at 2 p.m.

There are still specifics that need to be finalized for Festa Italiana, but plan on August 6-8, 2021 for the yearly festival to go on this year.

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