MEMPHIS, Tenn. — We are less than 24 hours away from the start of the Cooper Young festival. As the final preparations are underway, concerns about COVID has forced some vendors to make difficult decisions.
For Danny Andreimi, this festival is opportunity to make up for what has been a challenging season for small businesses.
“I can’t wait for the crowd to get here. People, that’s all it is to it. The people does it,” Andreimi said. “We didn’t work for a year and a half, nowhere. We stayed at home over a year and in a half. The festivals and fairs were canceled. After being off a year and a half, we will take anything right now.”
Unlike previous years, things will look a bit different at the festival. Masks will be recommended, sanitizer stations will be set up, and vaccines will be offered on site. They are precautions that put some attendees at ease.
“We’re all vaccinated. I’m going to be wearing my mask and my whole family will, and I hope everybody else will be,” said attendee Wyatt Sacks. “I don’t like the mandates for it, but it is a slight concern, but hopefully everybody’s vaccinated and have taken the right steps to come out.”
The event is expected to draw more than 130,00 people. Despite safety measures put in place, some vendors have decided it’s not worth the risk to attend in-person.
Memphis Heritage has been a vendor at the festival for several years. Their executive director, Lea Fox-Greenberg, says this decision was made in effort to protect their members and the community.
“My hope is that everybody who can participate does participate when it comes to events that are happening, and you’ve just got to use your own judgment, what’s best for you, what’s best for your community, for your family,” Greenberg said.