How Summer Festivals Persevered in the Pandemic

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When the coronavirus pandemic first exploded earlier this year, some hoped that it would end within weeks or months, with enough hand washing and other measures, perhaps with the sunlight of spring and summer.

That didn’t happen. Just as doctors and other experts had warned, rising temperatures and longer days failed to stop the spread. After a spring of despair, a lost summer took shape. The outbreak moved across the United States, reaching toward 6 million cases and 180,000 confirmed deaths as August sputters to a close, according to a New York Times database. In the rest of the world, it wasn’t much better, with outbreaks returning in some places.

Still, it is summer, in the Northern Hemisphere at least, and that means a season of fairs and festivals, and other traditional celebrations. Organizers around the world found sometimes ingenious ways to make sure the celebrations could go on, safely.

Sometimes the answer was to shift to livestreaming an event, as people worked to recreate the magic in their living rooms. That was the solution for the annual carving of the dairy princess in butter at the Minnesota State Fair. An eight-week festival in England featured purpose-built pods with table service so that families could attend performances with their pod. There were drive-throughs selling American fair staples like corndogs and funnel cakes, and pop-up events to keep crowds small, like the surprise fireworks displays staged by Macy’s in New York neighborhoods.

Here’s a visual tour of celebrations around the world, with stops in Germany, Britain, Wisconsin, California, Brazil, Sri Lanka, South Korea, Japan and Mongolia.

ImagePeople in vehicles waited on July 30 on the racetrack of the Wisconsin State Fair Park for the daily opening of the Fair Food Drive-Thru. The event in West Allis, Wis., provided an alternative with the Wisconsin State Fair and most other county fairs around the state canceled.
Credit…John Hart/Wisconsin State Journal, via Associated Press
Credit…Lukas Barth-Tuttas/EPA, via Shutterstock
Credit…Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Credit…Lakruwan Wanniarachchi/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Credit…Byambasuren Byamba-Ochir/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Credit…Michael Dantas/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Credit…Dai Kurokawa/EPA, via Shutterstock
Credit…Heo Ran/Reuters
Credit…Oli Scarff/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

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