Street Fest is scrapped, but downtown businesses are set to party

Street Fest is scrapped, but downtown businesses are set to party

  • Updated
071319-mda-nws-streetfest

Instead of hosting a large festival on 2nd Street in downtown Davenport this year on July 24-25, the Downtown Davenport Partnership is encouraging people to support downtown businesses that normally benefit from the festival's foot traffic.

The downtown Davenport Street Fest that has been held for decades on the weekend of the Quad-City Times Bix 7 is, like the road race itself, changing this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Instead of blocking off 2nd Street for vendors, the Downtown Davenport Partnership is making a major push for people to come downtown on July 24-25 and spend their money in the brick and mortar businesses — shopping, drinking, playing and, in the case of hotels, staying in the downtown.

While scrapping the fest, the partnership hopes the "homecoming" urge will draw people downtown, boosting businesses that, in previous years, got a big bump in sales from festival foot traffic. 

"We understand that everyone is looking for an opportunity to come together with friends and family this summer and Street Fest during Bix 7 weekend has traditionally been a Quad-Cities homecoming event," Jason Gilliliand, events director for the downtown partnership said in a written news release. The partnership is a division of the Quad-Cities Chamber of Commerce.

He and others hope that the promotion will draw people downtown to celebrate the region while still following state guidelines for social distancing to keep the very contagious virus in check.

Instead of spending money with vendors, they are encouraging people to spend with businesses because "they're going to need it," Gilliliand said.

On Monday, organizers of the Quad-City Times Bix 7 announced that this year's race will be "virtual," with people signing up and completing their race distance any time from July 1 through July 25, and from any location. The Prairie Farms Quick Bix and Arconic Jr. Bix also are going virtual.

"As the public health guidelines around the pandemic continue to evolve, we will be able to adapt as things change," Gilliliand said.

Special promotions and accompanying events are still being worked out and once they are, they will packaged up and marketed, he said.

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