As COVID-19 rushes back for its great summer encore among (mainly) the unvaccinated in Dallas-Fort Worth, it's bringing with it the dreaded cancellation of fun things, which fans of fun things suffered through in 2020.
Hopefully this weekend is not the start of an un-fun trend, but three event cancellations all citing the same reasons warrants a warning. The following three big DFW weekend events suddenly canceled or postponed just days ahead of their presentations, all citing rising coronavirus numbers as a cause. Check with the organizers if you had tickets.
The Kindness Duck Project, a nonprofit that touts itself as throwing "the world's largest rubber duck party" in the name of spreading kindness, announced Monday, July 19 that it was rescheduling its planned July 24 party and festival in Fort Worth.
"Given the significant increase in positivity rate and transmission surge in Tarrant County, the Big #KindnessDuck Party has chosen to reschedule the event to October," the organization posted on Facebook. "The World’s Largest Rubber Duck wants everyone to be safe and encourages everyone to do what they can to stay healthy."
Added organizer Craig Samborski, in a statement, “Having to reschedule an event is never fun. However, we have new dates on the books, and we’re gonna quack you up in October, Texas!"
Those new dates are now Halloween weekend — October 29-31, 2021 — a weekend that might possibly already have some events on the calendar, but now add the big duck. They're also continuing to raise charitable funds via a GoFundMe page, as they have raised less than half their goal to date.
(UPDATE 9:10 pm 7-23-2021: Kyle Wagner, Fort Worth-based executive director of the Kindness Duck Project, emailed to clarify what appeared as a fundraising shortfall, saying, "When we first started our campaign, our total raise goal was $10,000. Naturally, we put that on all of our public fundraising platforms. However, while we have exceeded our total goal, individually, it shows in each platform that we are under our $10,000 goal. As such, I have amended our goal to $1 to accurately reflect that we have met our total goal but that we are happy to use platforms such as GoFundMe to continue to help support our fundraising. ... Thanks to some amazing support from individuals, families, groups, companies, and our community, we have exceeded our goals and are actively pursuing our simple mission — Plant Kindness, Grow Kindness, Share Kindness — and are looking forward to an amazing community event in October.")
Fort Worth's Amphibian Stage Productions announced on Thursday, July 22 that they were canceling the remainder of Spark Fest, a comedy and theater showcase entering its second full weekend of performances that night.
"We have learned that some fully vaccinated people involved in different capacities of Spark Fest have tested positive for COVID-19 even while practicing safety guidance from the CDC, the Actor’s Equity Association, and our Covid Compliance Officer," organizers said in an email. "We have also had multiple cancellations for the upcoming weekend from fully vaccinated patrons who had been planning to attend but have unexpectedly tested positive. This follows the trend of data from local government that shows since 4th of July Weekend the test positivity rate in Tarrant County has increased by more than 10 percent."
They say they'll move forward with contact tracing and continued testing, and invite patrons to reach out with questions.
Dallas' Ochre House Theater also announced the sudden cancellation of Cursed!, a collaboration with the Dallas Flamenco Festival, via an email on Thursday, July 22.
"We have always put the safety, health, and well being of our staff, cast, crew, and patrons first whenever we are deciding to put on a show. And with the sudden high surge in Covid-19 not only in the North Texas area, but recently seen in the DFW theater community, we have made the difficult decision to temporarily postpone our production of CURSED!, set to open today, July 22nd," writes Matthew Posey, Ochre House Theater artistic director. "We will take a step back, examine the situation, and decide to put this show back on only when we feel it is safe to do so for all."
As of 2 pm Friday, July 23, Dallas County Health and Human Services was reporting 434 additional positive cases of 2019 novel coronavirus in Dallas County, 328 confirmed cases, and 106 probable cases. On Friday night, Dallas County returned to the orange level of its COVID-19 color-coded risk level chart, meaning "extreme caution." For more information on COVID-19, including vaccine availability, click here.
Numbers for Tarrant County on Friday, July 23 were not yet available, but the county reported one COVID-19 death on Thursday. To find a vaccine, click here.
According to this story, Texas has seen nearly 9,000 COVID-19 deaths since February, reports the Texas Tribune. All but 43 were unvaccinated. COVID-19 cases have been surging in Texas and nationally — mostly among unvaccinated people — as the highly contagious delta variant has become dominant. Less than 43 percent of Texans have been fully vaccinated.