FRONTENAC, Kan. — Festa Italiana is a beloved community tradition in Frontenac, but like so many other events, it may look different this year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
"With the uncertainty of what we have for this fall, Oct. 3 is the date that’s been set for Festa," said Matt Frankenbery, vice president of the Frontenac Education Foundation, at Monday’s Frontenac City Council meeting. "We put together a three-tier contingency plan for ideas for how to continue Festa."
The Frontenac Education Foundation provides close to $30,000 in scholarships to USD 249 graduates, and Festa is "really the main and primary fundraiser for those scholarships," Frankenbery said.
"And so if there’s any way possible to hold Festa, whether it be an alternate means, we wanted to have a contingency plan in front of the city, and so we put together Plan A, Plan B and Plan C," he said.
"Plan A is basically business as usual, which I think all of us would love for that to be the case by the time October hits.
"Plan B is a slightly modified version where we would spread out, we’d have some additional tents, we would not have the cooks as close together, and the seating area for people to sit down and eat would have to be spread out as well. So it would take more real estate to be able to hold the same type of function.
"Plan C, the third option on here is obviously the most dramatic change and in essence what we’re proposing is that it be a drive-through, come through, grab your meal and take it with you. So we would still have it cooked, it would still be the local flair that we typically have, and we would look at having some alternate ideas of doing some virtual events ahead of time or at the same time that night."
Mayor David Fornelli asked if there was a set date to decide which plan they were going to follow, and Frankenbery said there was not.
"One of the items obviously that’s critical is that we send out sponsor letters ahead of time to let them know that it’s happening, it’s on this date, here’s what we’re going to do as a fundraiser, and so probably the most pressing item is information we’re going to send out to the sponsors, just so they know," he said.
"Because what we don’t want to do is obviously act as if we are completely unprepared. We have plans in place, we want the sponsors to know that, but we also want them to get value for their sponsorship as well, so we want them to understand we have plans for that."
Councilmembers said they did not have a problem with the three-tier contingency plan.
"Something's better than nothing, because it’s a great cause," Fornelli said.
Councilman Mike Snow asked if Frankenbery could come back in August to give the council an update on the plans for Festa, and Frankenbery said he could.
"I’m glad there’s not a Plan D," said Councilman Joe Martin.