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As Big In-Person Events Return, New Haven Prepares for Festival

NBC Universal, Inc.

Crews are preparing for the start of the International Festival of Arts & Ideas on the New Haven Green on Friday.

With coronavirus cases dropping and state rules being relaxed, big in-person events are starting to return.

“I can’t wait. I can’t wait to hear it. I can’t wait to hear the concert,” said Linda Pancoast of New Haven. “Oh my gosh, it’s just a return to feeling human. Really. So I’m excited and I love being down here.”

After going all virtual last year because of the pandemic, some in-person programming is returning this year.

“We're doing a hybrid festival. We will be out on the Green and will also be streaming everything so you can experience it from your home if that's where you feel more comfortable,” said Shelley Quiala, the festival’s executive director.

There’s a lot going on from food to arts to activities to music during the 10-day event.

“We're opening up the festival with a community performance of like six local artists who are going to be performing a song named Imagine that they worked on together,” said Malakhi Eason, the festival’s director of programming & community impact.

We’re told this year for the first time there will be pre-assigned seating.

That’s just one of the changes you can expect this year to help keep people safe from Covid-19.

In-person events will require reservations and socially distanced spots.

People will be given a health questionnaire when they arrive, temperature check and will be required to wear masks.

“It's going to be a festival experience but it's not going to be a festival experience that people are used to. It will be a first time through this Covid hybrid world for us,” said Quiala.

We’re told there’s space on the Green for up to 700 people for preregistration.

And most nights are already pretty full.

“Look forward to seeing a lot of community, look forward to seeing a lot of things that are interactive this year,” said Eason.

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