Local leaders optimistic about outdoor summer events

Venues and organizations across town are in the planning stages for their summer line-ups, but ‘maybes’ still remain for some of Mankato’s biggest summer gatherings.

Local leaders optimistic about outdoor summer events

MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - It’s been over a year since the limestone steps of downtown Mankato’s Vetter Stone Amphitheater have been filled with concert-goers.

“The last show we did, I believe, was Buddy Guy in August of 2019,” co-director of Mayo Clinic Health System Event Center Eric Jones said.

While restrictions are slowly dialing back, it will be a while before event organizers can pack the park. Jones says, under current state guidelines, the amphitheater’s current capacity is around 975.

As the race to vaccinate Minnesotans continues, another race is in the planning stages.

Visit Mankato staff says runners can count on a more-normal looking Mankato Marathon than last year, which was fully virtual.

The annual race attracts more than 10,000 visitors each year.

“We are planning right now for an in-person race,” Joy Leafblad, sports commission director for Visit Mankato, said. “Along with a virtual option for those who feel more comfortable doing it that way.

Youth sports are getting the green light, with some mitigation efforts, as well. The Minnesota Department of Health requires all venues hosting athletic events to have a COVID-19 preparedness plan and follow protocols like physical distancing and occupancy limits.

Three concerts that were postponed last year are on the calendar for this summer at the amphitheater, and staff says they’re confident that the main event will go on in some form.

“I feel like we are gonna have RibFest,” Jones said. “It might just look a little different this year. We might scale it back a little bit for one year.”

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