The year 2020 has been all about stress and disruption. We all know the sudden and lasting impacts the coronavirus and all the shutdowns, mask orders and closures have had on our communities, everyday life and our economy.
The result for some has been fear, political bickering and gridlock. We have seen the latter in Washington with Congress frozen in place over a needed new COVID-19 stimulus package and political opposition to anything and everything President Donald Trump says or does.
But in the real world, including on the main streets of the Eastern Shore, we are seeing plenty of businesses, nonprofits, entrepreneurs and everyday folks braving the virus, the politics and all the fear in the world.
We need to see more of that.
COVID-19 resulted in the cancellation of the Waterfowl Festival. It is one of the biggest economic and tourism drivers on the Mid-Shore.
But Waterfowl Chesapeake is searching for ways to still benefit the community as well as the artists who planned to be at this year’s festival before it was nixed.
The Waterfowl Festival is helping those artists via a virtual art gallery to promote and potentially sell their works. Our artists and arts communities have been decimated by COVID-19 and all the postponed and canceled shows and events. The Waterfowl Festival’s virtual art show starts Nov. 1. We need to see more of these types of efforts as well as more live arts events as our COVID-19 situation improves and permits.
The Avalon Foundation’s opening of a new outdoor music venue at a parking lot next to the Talbot Town Shopping Center in Easton is a prime example of how groups need to innovate and pivot this year and going into 2021. The outdoor venue will allow live music events to happen with many indoor performances still restricted or not feasible because of COVID-19 and social distancing rules. It will help musicians who also have been hit very hard by the pandemic. The new venue will also bring more activity to downtown Easton and its restaurants and shops. They very much need the business.
Waterfowl Chesapeake, Avalon Foundation and eight other local nonprofits also announced this week they will be hosting CommUNITY Day events on Nov. 14 and 15 in Easton.
Many of the events will be outdoors, and indoor ones will require masks and social distancing. The community effort includes events for kids as well as art, photography and nature exhibits. The programming also aims to bring the community together, bolster downtown restaurants and other local businesses and highlight participating nonprofits’ missions.
Nonprofits — like small businesses and others — have been steamrolled by the pandemic and its closures. Events have been canceled. Fundraising has dwindled.
We are glad to see the events coming to Easton. We hope for a strong turnout and this helps highlight important causes in our town and community.
We also hope others take notice. Like many others, Waterfowl Festival and Avalon Foundation have been hit hard by the coronavirus. They have had to cancel or postpone events. Their responses have not been to freeze in place or to get caught up in the politics of fear. Instead, they have looked for creative and new ideas — with a focus on helping others.
We hope to see more ingenuity and toughness out of more local businesses and community groups as we all try to navigate and survive the rest of this year into 2021.
We can also hope for some kind of sea change on social media, with the media as a whole and in politics that will result in a focus on how to get through the coronavirus and save jobs and important causes.
But we know the realities. It is on our communities and ourselves to come together and find ways to pivot and fight through the pandemic.