Will Dragon Con and the Decatur Book Festival happen this year?
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This story has been updated.
Decatur, GA – Dragon Con and the Decatur Book Festival bring thousands to Atlanta every Labor Day weekend.
But the COVID-19 pandemic has organizers and fans wondering whether these popular events can happen at all this year.
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation has revised its predictions for Georgia. In March, the IHME model predicted 2,777 COVID-19 deaths in Georgia. As of May 6, the prediction is 4,913 deaths by Aug. 4. Hospitals at this time are predicted to be able to handle the caseload and the deaths per day are predicted to begin to drop off by June 2.
As of May 6, there have been 30,506 COVID-19 cases in Georgia and 1,302 deaths. An influx of thousands of people into Atlanta could cause numbers to spike. But organizers of these events haven’t made an official determination about whether the events should move ahead.
In a Facebook post on May 5, Dragon Con noted that the Atlanta City Council passed a measure on May 4 that could affect the convention’s plans. According to a press release, the City Council approved an ordinance “ordering the mayor’s Office of Special Events and the Department of Parks and Recreation to refuse to accept new applications for permits or sub-permits for or relating to events held in the city governed by Chapter 142 of the Code of Ordinances and ordering the Atlanta Police Department to refuse to accept new applications for special events governed by Chapter 10, Article II, Division 3 of the Code of Ordinances (Legislative Reference No. 20-O-1296).”
Organizers of Dragon Con didn’t specifically name the ordinance in its announcement to fans, but said, “We are aware of the city council resolution that was passed on May 4, and are working with both the city and our events team to see how that impacts Dragon Con 2020. We will have more information available in the coming days.”
Likewise, the Decatur Book Festival also has held off on making a call about Labor Day.
Executive Director Joy Pope said in a newsletter, “As you know the COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting many longtime traditions and events. We at the AJC Decatur Book Festival have determined that it will not be possible to hold a physical festival Labor Day weekend. And while it looks like we may not be able to have a physical festival Labor Day weekend, we are in the process of reimagining the DBF and how we might bring books and conversations to Atlanta this year. We look forward to engaging others in our process and announcing our new plan later this spring.”
But Pope was not ready to say the Book Festival is canceled.
“The board is the one that decides what we’re doing, and right now they are not ready to say we are either having the festival or not,” she said. “We all agree that it may be impossible to have a physical festival, but the board wants a little more time to consider the situation.”
She said the Book Festival is exploring alternative programming options, pointing to the ‘Joshilyn Jackson Reads’ virtual book series that was recently announced.
As of right now, the college football games played in Atlanta on Labor Day weekend have not been canceled, according to 247sports.com.
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