Coronavirus concern: FresYes Fest postponed, some but not all events canceled

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Organizers are saying 'no' to holding the FresYes Fest during a coronavirus outbreak, one of several Valley events facing major disruptions.

RELATED: List of Valley events canceled, postponed amid COVID-19 concerns

Downtown Fresno's biggest event of the year brings an estimated $1 million to the local economy and brings as many as 17,000 people into the revitalization effort.

"We put a lot of time and energy into this," said Tioga Sequoia president Michael Cruz. "It's the biggest thing we do of the year and it impacts our community tremendously, but we're erring on the side of caution."

Organizers decided to postpone the March 21 festival to help avoid the spread of coronavirus. They'll try to do it in October instead.

The nation's top infectious disease expert recommended giving strong consideration to canceling large gatherings and a fairly simple graph explains why.

By taking steps like postponing events and encouraging some people to limit contact with others, you minimize the speed of disease spreading.

Dr. Siouxsie Wiles made this version of the graph, showing the importance of "flattening the curve."

The New Zealand microbiologist wanted to show how communities acting together to take sensible steps can make sure the hospital system isn't overwhelmed, especially at a time when influenza already has a lot of hospitals very busy.

"When you're already running at capacity and then this comes on top of that then doctors have to start making decisions over where are they going to put their resources, who are they going to save and that's a position none of us want to be in," Dr. Wiles said.

The Fresno County Public Health Department hasn't asked anyone to cancel events yet, so even FresYes Fest host Tioga Sequoia is still planning to hold its Fresno Street Eats event this weekend.

Miss Winkles Pet Adoption Center will go ahead with this weekend's Dinner and Fashion Show Fundraiser.

But the Special Olympics of Northern California is canceling its polar plunge at Millerton Lake.

Fresno State won't host thousands of children for the 62nd annual Peach Blossom Festival.

"(It has a) large financial impact," said Peach Blossom Festival director Christina Wells. "Each school registers based on the types of groups they have - whether they're solos, duos, trios, large groups. We are refunding those registration fees."

Event organizers are hoping some schools will donate their registration fees and they're selling T-shirts for $10, hoping to raise enough money to revive the longest running festival on campus next year.

Several other organizations are canceling events for the immediate future, like the Fresno Metro Black Chamber of Commerce.

"All we're doing right now is gathering the data and then trying to make decisions from the data that we are gathering," said Tara Lynn Gray, the CEO of the FMBCC.

Organizers putting on a lot of upcoming events, including the Clovis Rodeo in late April, are waiting for further developments before deciding what to do.
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