Gov. Ralph Northam’s decision to open mass gatherings from the previous 250 people to up to 1,000 attendees has given the organizers of ViVa! Vienna! hope that they’ll be able to hold the event on its usual Memorial Day weekend this year.
“With that 1,000 [people] move-up, it gives us the wheels to set things in motion,” said A.J. Oskuie of the Rotary Club of Vienna, the event’s chairman. “We’re very excited, but there’s a lot of work to be done.”
The Rotary Club of Vienna sponsors the event each year, in coordination with the town government, and donates profits to various community groups.
The pandemic forced the cancellation of last year’s ViVa! Vienna! and organizers earlier this year were pondering a variety of dates and locations in hopes of reviving the event in 2021.
Rotarians stated earlier that the event likely would be a no-go if at least 1,000 people could not attend. ViVa! Vienna! typically draws 30,000 to 40,000 people over three days on Memorial Day weekend.
Organizers this year hope to limit the event’s carnival rides and entertainment to the Oktoberfest footprint in the vicinity of Church Street, Dominion Road and Mill Street, N.E.
Instead of allowing about 300 vendors to set up along Church and Center streets, Rotarians are contemplating having a maximum of 200 vendors do business on Caffi Field, and perhaps Vienna Elementary School’s grounds, near the Vienna Community Center.
(The adjacent Waters Field also has lots of land, but will be used for a baseball tournament that weekend.)
Rotarians will update the Council again on April 5 about their ViVa! Vienna! plans. One consideration will be ways of controlling attendance, although because they would be physically separated, both of the areas would be allowed up to 1,000 people at any given time.
“We don’t want it to bottleneck,” Oskuie said.
Town officials stressed they would do everything possible to make the public feel safe in attending the event. Oskuie agreed, saying that a failure at ViVa! Vienna! could harm other events being planned in the area.
“I don’t want a piñata over [Route] 123 with my face on it,” he joked.
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