It’s been a Bryan and Williams County tradition since 1946. But due to the COVID-19 pandemic, factors associated with the virus and with state regulations, the fate of the Bryan Jubilee this summer is still in doubt.
Dan Yahraus, executive director of the Bryan Area Chamber of Commerce, which sponsors the event, said Tuesday the chamber has not yet been able to either confirm or cancel the event, which is scheduled for June 18-20 (Thursday-Saturday)
Yahraus said with the DeWine administration’s current ban on large gatherings, and its directives on social distancing, it’s unclear if state will even allow an event such as the Jubilee.
He said there’s also uncertainty about state sanitary regulations around COVID-19, how those regulations will be carried out, or whether those regulations will be changed or revised, and when. City of Bryan officials have already said that “cumbersome” regulations on cleaning and directives that would lead to reduced capacity led them to announce the city pools will not open this summer.
“We’re hopeful. It depends on the state,” Yahraus said.
“We’re optimistic. Of course, our No. 1 priority is the safety of everyone — staff, vendors, volunteers and (attendees). If we get the OK, we’re planning to do everything in our power to provide a safe environment that meets state (regulations). We’ll have hand sanitizer at every ride and at every vendor; we’ll have six-foot barriers. We know fairs have been announcing closures this year, but we’re outside, whereas a lot of what they do is in buildings ... but we’re just not sure at this point.”
He also said the Jubilee dates are locked in because its amusement ride company — Durant Enterprise Inc., of rural Putnam County — has set its schedule for the summer. Durant has the Jubilee pegged for June 18-20, so the Jubilee cannot reschedule the event to later in the year.
“We really like Durant. Their rides are clean. We’ve been working with them on the Jubilee since it began,” said Yahraus, whose grandfather, Al Yahraus, then-director of the Bryan chamber, started the Bryan Jubilee carnival in 1946 as a way to raise money for Recreation Park.
Later, Dan’s father, Bill, was intricately involved with the Jubilee, and it was Dan who revived the event about 20 years ago after it was disbanded for several years.
Yahraus said everything is in place for the Jubilee and if the chamber got the OK as late as June 15, “we could still pull it off.” But right now it’s to be determined.
DAY IN THE PARK
Yahraus said the chamber of commerce faces the same scenario with the annual Day in the Park as with the Jubilee — it’s still up in the air.
However, unlike the Jubilee, he said the Day in the Park could be rescheduled for later in the summer because the chamber uses a different amusement ride company for Day in the Park, which is currently scheduled for Saturday, June 27
“If we cancel the Jubilee, we most likely will postpone the Day in the Park. We already have an alternate date — Aug. 22,” Yahraus said Tuesday.
One issue remains, though. The fireworks show that closes out Day in the Park is in doubt, as the chamber’s fundraising event — the reverse raffle — has been canceled twice due to COVID-19 and social distancing directives.
The chamber usually raises the $10,000 needed for the fireworks show through the reverse raffle.
Yahraus said, however, that the chamber is selling reverse raffle tickets and could hold the raffle through teleconference, if necessary.
“We’re selling reverse raffle tickets, but we don’t yet have a date. Once we have a date we’ll announce it,” he said.
Tickets are $60, or $75 for a ticket and dinner. If the raffle dinner is canceled, the raffle will go on, and the chamber will refund the $15 difference in a dinner ticket, Yahraus said.
He said the chamber has sold 43 tickets as of Tuesday morning, raising about $2,500 so far. Yahraus said the chamber is counting on the community to help raise the $7,500 needed to pay for the fireworks.
The chamber office is now open to visitors after being closed due to COVID-19. Reverse raffle tickets can be purchased by visiting the chamber office at 138 S. Lynn St., Bryan. Call 419-636-2247, or email email@example.com.