More summer events moving to virtual space

Posted at 11:58 PM, Apr 28, 2020

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — A decision on the future of summer activities and festivals is a decision that will be made statewide and with neighboring states, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said during a Tuesday press conference.

Cuomo delivered his daily COVID-19 update from SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse Tuesday. When asked by a reporter how events in the Syracuse area, such as the New York State Fair which drew 1.3 million people in 2019, could go on, Cuomo responded:

"It breaks my heart, but they can't unless it's done statewide and unless it's done, not just statewide, but in with our neighboring states."

Organizations in Western New York are already planning to change their spring and summer plans because of the virus.

Buffalo Prep is a program that helps gifted children throughout WNY succeed in school and prepare for college. Its staff was planning the annual gala to honor their students who are graduating.

“When we found out we were unable to host our biggest event of the year, it was really terrifying for us,” said Ashley Coder, the Buffalo Prep director of development.

The event isn't canceled, it's just moved online. It's not just schools making moves like this. With CanalFest canceled, artists need to find a new places sell their work this summer.

“A one stop shop to browse and purchase original artwork,” said Natalie Brown, the Carnegie Arts Center program coordinator.

The Carnegie Art Center is hosting a virtual art festival.

“We realized we needed to make a little income and support the surrounding artists who will be hurt, financially, by this as well,” explained Brown

Two different organizations making tough decisions to stay afloat. With more companies and events facing similar decisions this summer, these organizations offer what they've learned.

“I would just share, not to be too scared or hesitant about it. And that it's probably the right decision and once they start to talk to their community members about it, everyone is going to rally around them,” said Patti Stephen, the Buffalo Prep executive director.

“I think you have to think about your followers, who you serve, who enjoys your events and try to cater around what they want and what they need,” said Brown.

The Buffalo Prep virtual Celebration of Achievement will be held online between May 13th and 15th. The Carnegie Art Center virtual art festival will be held the entire month of July.