In place of the city’s annual music and arts festival, Brookhaven will hold a Cherry Blossom Summer Block Party as a post-pandemic celebration at the end of July.
During its May 4 meeting, the Brookhaven City Council approved an ordinance to increase the available budget in the City Marquee Events Department by $130,000 for the block party, which will be a one-time event, according to the ordinance.
The event will be held July 30, 3-11 p.m. and July 31, noon-11 p.m. A location has not been announced.
City spokesperson Burke Brennan said this festival is the same one as the post-pandemic “recovery festival” the council reviewed at its April 14 meeting. The festival is meant to celebrate the city’s resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically those in the food and music industries that were hit by the subsequent economic downturn.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website still recommends avoiding large gatherings if possible. For people who are fully vaccinated, the CDC recommends wearing a mask to large outdoor gatherings where there may be large crowds.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the city canceled its 2020 and 2021 Cherry Blossom Festivals, which is Brookhaven’s annual music and arts festival. Those cancelations were listed as a deciding factor for the block party in the ordinance.
According to the ordinance, the $130,000 increase is in anticipation of estimated sponsorship and food and beverage revenue from the festival. Assistant City Manager Steve Chapman said if those revenues do not come in during the festival, the city will have to do another appropriation from the fund balance at the end of the year to make up any differences.
Councilmember Linley Jones expressed excitement for the upcoming festival.
“I want to find a way to work our cherry blossoms into it as much as possible, since we’re not going to have our actual flowers blooming,” she said.
Mayor John Ernst said festival planning is in its early stages, but he would like to have a “heroes parade” at the beginning of the block party of honor essential workers and first responders. The mayor also encouraged residents to get vaccines.
“Get vaccinated, everyone,” he said.