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LAKE GENEVA RISES UP FROM COVID ASHES

 

Baconfest was a blow-away success in Lake Geneva this last weekend.  It is the first official, and approved, social gathering since the virus struck over a year ago.  People came from everywhere.  That there were only four of the twenty-some-odd booths at the event to serving bacon, well, what the heck.  The live music alone was worth the five-dollar admission price.  At the gate, no admissions were allowed, as the online orders were overwhelming and even completely and unexpectedly sold out within only hours of the beginning of the online sale.

The Regional News has not released numbers of either its sales or the number of people who attended.  Crowds, which were supposed to be kept to a minimum, as the virus is not done with infecting parts of the population yet, were in the low thousands, even though the event was sold out early.  The Lake Geneva Regional News was the managing creator of the project.  That it received such a large stipend from the Tourism Commission remains problematic.  If the City of Lake Geneva sponsors an event, to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars, then how is the newspaper’s editorial staff supposed to go against things the city might be involved with that the paper’s board might disagree with?  If the event, at the blow away popularity exhibited by the first one, is repeated, then is not the city to be considered to be buying the support of this important local news outlet?  The Regional News put on a great event and the paper did it in a qualitative way, but did it do it at the expense of some of losing some of their independence and integrity?  Tough problem to consider.

Another small negative incident was with respect to the tearing down of the event equipment (booths and fences). That did not take place until Monday thereby leaving Flat Iron Park closed for Mother’s Day, making some citizens pretty upset if not downright angry.  As one complaining citizen said: “what is this one-day conditional use garbage if there’s not going to be any enforcement?”  The citizen was correct in assuming that the clearing of all the equipment in the park should have been planned and handled immediately following the event.  In spite of it all, the results plainly evident on the day of the event were self-evident, and the huge turnout from visitors to the city and citizens who live here alike can only be written off to the fact that summer is on the way and that this event turned out to be the very first event that was held without mask or distance controls in place.

There can be no results of virus transmission from such events where a great majority of the attendees come up from Chicago.  They go home on the same day, or that evening or they stay for only a night or two.  Whatever they brought with them in the way of a virus inside them or in the transmission of it to others remains unmeasurable and unknown.  The people who might have gotten the virus because of the completely uncontrolled environment at the park take whatever they go home, where they will be counted as having contracted the disease there.  Most locals stay home, and the very low numbers of the virus hospitalizing patients or even killing them are probably primarily due to that fairly evident fact.

Whatever the result may come about because of the open ‘business as usual’ return to normalcy the event illustrated, the success of it is attracting huge numbers of so many humans in vital need of any kind of socialization.  That was provided.  The real cost of Baconfest may never truly be known, however.

 

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