Blanchard plans festival to celebrate end of quarantine

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BLANCHARD, Okla. (KFOR) – The city of Blanchard is planning a “Freedom Fest” at the beginning of June to give people a break from being hunkered down at home.  

Organizers say they wanted a way for residents to enjoy themselves after quarantine and thank first responders.

“There was motivation for many of our citizens to get back out of the house and enjoy what is now beautiful weather,” Chris Wittenbach, Director of Parks and Recreation in Blanchard, said.  

The event was originally called “Quarantine Freedom Fest,” but they’ve since dropped “quarantine” from the name to avoid confusion.

“I think it was just a little confusing to people as to, were we still supposed to be quarantined, what was it, and so we just changed it to Freedom Fest,” Wittenbach said. “We’ve all been quarantined– that seems to be the key word for everyone– Freedom Fest meaning as of June 1 we were no longer going to be quarantined.”

Food trucks, live music, and a beer garden are planned. Of course, that means a large group of people.

Wittenbach says he’s counting on people to take their own precautions and socially distance.  

“We’re going to ask citizens to use common sense about how close they want to gather to each other,” he said.

While it’s not entirely without concern, he says they’re following the governor’s guidelines.

The event also is contingent on the governor going forward with reopening.

“We’re not saying that we’re quarantining everyone, and we’re certainly not trying to help spread anything. If our governor feels like our state is going in the wrong direction, and decides to close it down, obviously our council will not go forward with it,” Wittenbach said.  

He adds other places also have people gathering.

“By that time casinos will be opening. I mean, you can’t tell me at the casinos they’re practicing very safe social distancing,” he said.  

Some who are thinking about going to the event share those same thoughts.

“I don’t think it’s very concerning. They’ve lifted the ban in most places, so if the state doesn’t see anything concerning, then I shouldn’t either,” Sadie Bottom said.  

Vendors will be spaced apart, and workers will be wearing masks and gloves.  

Others in Blanchard say people can decide how they want to approach the festival.

“I think I’d take my own precautions, definitely bring my hand sanitizer,” Autumn Spurgin said. “But there’s germs everywhere. Any type of festival or anything like that, you’re always going to run that risk.”

“It’s a little silly I think, but who am I to judge what people do with their time,” Wyatt Murphy, who works in Blanchard, said.

“Obviously there are going to be those out there who are uncomfortable, and we would ask that those folks, if they feel like they don’t want to be down here, just stay home,” Wittenbach said.

The event is on June 6 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. in downtown Blanchard.

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