Status of Dogwood Festival, All American Marathon in question amid coronavirus concerns

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- Fayetteville city officials intend to discuss the status of two of their biggest events in the coming days, as coronavirus concerns continue to force cities to shutdown events nationwide.

In an hour-long phone call, Mayor Mitch Colvin spoke to the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs about ways the city can mitigate the spread of the virus, if a case were to arise.

"We're a transit community, we're the home of the military. We have a number of citizens that travel to and from Wake County every day for work purposes other reasons," Colvin said.

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The call consisted of making sure every level of government was on the same page; in addition, officials also recommended the city stay on top of their transit and airport sanitation.

Another suggestion was to avoid holding large gatherings in the coming weeks or months, which is why Mayor Colvin is asking the council to consider the status of the All American Marathon that's set to happen the last weekend of March.

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"The guidance that I understood from the call was that we can expect that this will show up at some point in our community," Colvin added.

The Dogwood Festival is one of the largest annual events, bringing in hundreds of thousands of visitors to enjoy vendors, live music, and games.
Businesswoman Leesa Jensen is the owner of a downtown Fayetteville bistro known as Caruso Confections.

Jensen says the relatively new business has seen a lot more foot traffic in the historic downtown area when these two events have taken place.

"It's going to be a big blow to everything," Jensen said.

While the festival and marathon don't necessarily bring in a substantial amount of more revenue, Jensen says it brings more exposure to the city and helps the local economy.

"Produces a lot of traffic for downtown and for the city. Produces a lot of revenue and brings people to places they haven't been before," Jensen said.

Though nothing is set in stone, the city council will meet on Monday evening to discuss the matter and hear from a representative from the county health department.

Officials with the Dogwood Festival and All American Marathon said they will be evaluating the situation and see if cancellations or rescheduling will take place.
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