City Council asked to authorize the return of Phase 1 of the Palm Springs VillageFest
PALM SPRINGS — The Palm Springs VillageFest, one of southern California’s most popular and longest-running weekly street-festivals, has been shut down since for 14 months due to the coronavirus pandemic. But now the open-air market is ready for a comeback.
As the state begins reopening on June 15, the VillageFest Board requests that the City Council consider a return of the event to Downtown Palm Springs. Proponents say it provides visitors and residents with a unique and vibrant pedestrian safe outdoor activity, every Thursday evening. The City Council will consider the request during its regular meeting today, Thursday, May 27.
The VillageFest event requires additional staff time to monitor and maintain the event after hours, with most staff working on an overtime basis. Annually, the city incurs approximately $200,000 in overtime costs that are budgeted and appropriated for that purpose.
At the April 27 VillageFest Board Meeting, the Board approved a phased approach to reopening VillageFest. The proposal is designed to allow the event to reopen under a Phase 1 approach with a smaller footprint. It is aimed at giving the Board time to carefully evaluate potential VillageFest vendors to ensure the safety of the public, vendors, and staff. Staff will also continuously monitor the operations of the event for public and traffic safety, and compliance with face-mask requirements.
The VillageFest Board voted 5-0 to recommend to City Council Phase 1 of the Palm Springs VillageFest event to be scheduled for July 1, contingent on the state’s planned reopening of California on June 15, 2021. The Phase 1 layout includes the
following road closures:
- Palm Canyon Drive from Amado Road to Tahquitz Canyon Way
- Museum Way from Belardo Road to Palm Canyon Drive
- Belardo Road from Andreas Road to Tahquitz Canyon Way
East and West traffic along Tahquitz Canyon will remain open to traffic in the Phase 1 layout, according to the proposal to City Council
A second Phase 2 would be added to the event in the future, returning the event to its original footprint. Due to the narrowing of Palm Canyon Drive with the outdoor dining “parklets” there is reduced space for vendors. Staff estimates there will be a potential loss of 40 to 50 vendor spaces.
The VillageFest Board will implement some additional safety measures into the weekly street fair such as:
- Removal of the food court tables and chairs.
- Sampling of food products will be prohibited until approved through the Riverside County Health Department.
- Additional handwashing/sanitation stations throughout the event footprint.
- Additional signage in high use areas, promoting personal hygiene and face covering requirements.
- Additional cleaning of the portable restrooms on site for the event attendees.
- Spacing between vendor booth will be at least 6 feet apart.
- Encouraging vendor to use cashless system for payment.
- All marketing and community outreach will continue the messaging of all state recommended safety precautions; including face coverings required at the event.
- VillageFest: Shutterstock