Organizers are moving forward with plans to hold this year’s Mount Kisco SeptemberFest with the understanding that the trajectory of infections and guidance from public health officials will dictate whether the event can be held.
Portions of the three-day celebration, which include sidewalk sales on South Moger Avenue, a carnival in the Shoppers Park parking lot and a beer garden, food court and entertainment behind Village Hall, could also be curtailed or changed depending on how much the virus is under control. Last year’s SeptemberFest was canceled because of the pandemic.
Mount Kisco Chamber of Commerce Co-executive Directors Loretta Brooks and Beth Vetare-Civitello asked village officials last week to reserve the weekend of September 17-19. They also requested that the sales portion of the event, which is usually held on the sidewalk along South Moger Avenue, be moved into the street to allow for more space and greater distancing.
“We would love to have (South Moger Avenue) closed off and hold the street fair,” Vetare-Civitello said. “Depending on how the carnival goes and how the CDC (guidelines) go, the carnival, we hope, is at a point where we can do it in the same place as we had the last time, not 2020 but 2018 and 2019, in the center of the village lot.”
She said the chamber hopes to accommodate as many people as possible, but the priority is safety.
Mayor Gina Picinich said she would like to see the village be able to hold SeptemberFest while acknowledging there are many details that would need to be resolved, including costs. A police officer would likely be needed to direct traffic in the vicinity of South Moger Avenue to keep the flow of vehicles moving around the closure.
“We are looking to get the village back to some more normal activities and excited to be downtown again and having this going on,” Picinich said. “I think we’ll have to figure out the best way to do that, obviously, and what is most cost-effective and what it’s going to cost us.”
The Village Board agreed to block out the weekend with the hope that the needed planning won’t be wasted. Trustee Peter Grunthal said while there is a certain amount of anxiety related to the scheduling of any event that may draw crowds, the hope is that by the end of the summer a large percentage of the population will be vaccinated and the village will be able to hold SeptemberFest unless a virus variant causes a spike in infections.
Trustee Karen Schleimer said she wondered what guidelines would be used to control crowds.
“I have no problem in blocking out the time but whether we can actually do this, I don’t even know what the guidelines are now for such an event, so I need more information, but in terms of setting aside the time, with the hope we can do that, I have not problems with the idea,” she said.
Picinich responded that Westchester County is planning on opening Playland by late June, so the village could get some ideas regarding attendance and how to operate in a carnival situation.
Summer Concerts to Return
Mount Kisco is also planning to resume its free outdoor summer concert series starting in June at Fountain Park, which is the area between the library and Village Hall.
Lisa Abzun, of the village’s Arts Council, said the plan is to hold the early Wednesday evening concerts starting June 2 and schedule the performances every other week through Sept. 8. A rain date will be held open for Sept. 15.
She said she has spoken to many residents who desperately want the concert series to return after it had to be canceled last year.
“As much as the community wants the arts back again in a very visible way, artists are also trying to be part of the community again and performing for us,” Abzun said. “That’s a big part of being a musician, a performing artist, so we’re looking forward to that.”
Picinich said the village had set aside $10,000 for costs associated with the concerts and is looking forward to its resumption.
Martin has more than 30 years experience covering local news in Westchester and Putnam counties, including a frequent focus on zoning and planning issues. He has been editor-in-chief of The Examiner since its inception in 2007. Read more from Martin’s editor-author bio here. Read Martin’s archived work here: https://www.theexaminernews.com/author/martin-wilbur2007/