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Two more Iowa City summer events canceled due to COVID-19


Isaac Hamlet   | Iowa City Press-Citizen

Two more major Iowa City summer events have been added to the tally of cancellations due to COVID-19.

"It is with much sadness that we’re announcing major changes to our festival season," reads a release from Lisa Barnes, the Summer of the Arts Executive Director. "However, we want our community to know that we are reworking our events to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of our community. This is our top priority, and we will continue to follow all City of Iowa City and State of Iowa public health directives." 

On the Summer of the Arts front, the Iowa Arts Festival is being canceled. The festival, a gathering of assorted musical performances as well as art and food vendors, was scheduled to be held June 5-7. Though it will not be held as planned, Barnes said her organization is looking for ways to incorporate aspects of the festival into later still-schedule festivals later in the year.

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The organization is also canceling the May scheduled performances in the Friday Night Concert Series and looking at possible virtual options for the June performances as well as the Free Movie Series scheduled to start June 13, traditionally held on the University of Iowa Pentacrest.

The Iowa City Downtown District (ICDD) has also canceled and made tweaks to its summer schedule, most notably the fourth annual Downtown Block Party.

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"While a gathering of this size is not a safe option this year, we envision multiple, tailored events, with more open space, occurring throughout the summer," reads a release from ICDD.

Last year's iteration of the event saw expanded programming and attracted over 40,000 people. While some summer events and plans — such as adding to Iowa City's public art — as still on the books, the fourth year of the block party will not be held as originally planned.

The organization had planned a Ped Mall competition party to celebrate the conclusion of years of construction in the downtown space. This will also not proceed as once planned.

"We were excited to celebrate the newly renovated pedestrian mall, with concerts on the new community stage, beautifully uplit trees, fresh murals, and yellow daffodils marking the end of winter," reads the ICDD release. "While we begrudge the delayed celebration, by working together and tweaking certain offerings, the ICDD will continue to engage the community until this difficult era passes."

Isaac Hamlet covers arts, entertainment and culture at the Press-Citizen. Reach him at ihamlet@press-citizen.com or (319)-688-4247, follow him on Twitter @IsaacHamlet