After a year on hiatus, BIG Hat Days is back in Clovis!

BIG Hat Days is the largest two-day street festival in all of Central California.
CLOVIS, Calif. (KFSN) -- A beloved Clovis tradition made its triumphant return this weekend.

On Saturday, the 83rd annual BIG Hat Days kicked off after the pandemic forced city leaders to cancel the event last year.

Countless merchants lined the streets of Old Town Clovis as hundreds of people walked up and down Pollasky Avenue.

For many, this is the first large-scale event they have attended since the pandemic.

But the 83rd annual Big Hat Days encouraged them to leave the comfort of their homes.

"It is like we were house mice and we are not used to that, so it is nice to be able to get out and enjoy," said Marsha Stillmen from Pismo Beach.

BIG Hat Days is the largest two-day street festival in all of Central California.

Last year the pandemic forced the cancelation of the event, but this year it's back with a renewed sense of hope.

"It is really nice to see things opening back up and it is just nice to be out," said Clovis resident Susana Madrigal.

Hand sanitizing stations were placed throughout the festival and signs encouraged people to social distance and wear a mask.

But there was a chance the festival could have been canceled again.

Greg Newman, CEO for the Clovis Chamber of Commerce said they had to push it back about a month to make it happen.

"We made the decision to move it to June this year to give our community a few more months to get the vaccine, to heal a little bit, and for our numbers to come down," said Newman.

For people BIG Hat Days means a return to some normalcy, but for vendors it means much more - it means being able to connect with customers and make a living.

Sara Gray and Kathrine Tourner run a beauty business.

They've been longing for the human interaction that comes with selling in person.

"To be able to see those customers and then of course meet new customers has been just a huge blessing," said Tourner.

Newman said events like BIG Hat Days bring in millions of dollars into the city of Clovis.

Once the street festival comes to an end on Sunday, the Chamber of Commerce will begin planning their next big event - Clovis Fest, which will take place in September.

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