Volusia County

DeLand Original Music Festival kicks off this weekend as COVID-19 cases rise

VOLULSIA COUNTY, Fla. — Thousands of people are expected in DeLand to attend the 20th annual DeLand Original Music Festival on Saturday as many cities across the state are beginning to greenlight big events again.

Organizers have lined up more than 100 musical acts across 18 stages within five blocks of downtown, and expect a crowd of about 3,000 people.

Philip Weidner, one of the organizers, said he thought the event might not happen this year because of COVID-19. But last month, the city said it would again allow special events if organizers put safety measures in place.

This year, attendance will be capped at 3,000 people, which is 2,000 less than in previous years.

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“I was telling the city when we were coordinating that, I think the least of our worries is dealing with mass crowds of people,” Weidner said. “Getting people to wear their face mask … that’s something that is hard to enforce everyone to do, but we’re going to do our best on that.”

Weidner said masks will be available at all the entrances for people who don’t have them.

Also, expect to see handwashing and sanitizer stations throughout the event. There will also be repeated announcements to follow the rules and to stay six feet apart from other groups.

There will be a capacity limit at each stage, too.

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“I think we’ve made it pretty apparent to the organizer that, if they don’t follow the procedures, that they’re not going to be welcome back,” said Chris Graham, spokesperson for the City of DeLand.

Cases in Volusia County are on the rise. This past week, the Department of Health reported an average of 96 new infections per day, compared to 56 new cases a day a month ago.

Graham said leaders are trying to balance keeping people from getting sick, but also keeping businesses afloat.

“Downtown DeLand needs these sort of events. They bring traffic to the downtown area,” he said.

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Tickets are available online or in person beginning Saturday, but no cash payments will be accepted.

The music festival isn’t the only big event in Central Florida that’s popping up.

The Orlando Farmers Market reopened last weekend after being closed since March.

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On Sunday, the second crewed launch from the Kennedy Space Center this year will take place following the first one back in May.

NASA advised people to watch it from home, but more than 200,000 people showed up along the Space Coast anyway.

Officials want everyone to practice social distancing and wear masks if they come out this weekend.

The launch is scheduled for 7:27 p.m. Sunday. You can watch it live here and on Channel 9.

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