For the past several years, the North Mankato Taylor Library has hosted “Music in the Park,” bringing in live music once a week for the community to enjoy. Typically held outside the library building on each Thursday in July, the event included kids’ activities, food and more.
This year, library goers wondered if the event would still be possible in the wake of COVID-19 concerns. But according to Head Librarian Katie Heintz, library staff was committed to making sure this summertime favorite would continue again this year.
“When all of this started, there were some events that we knew right away we would have to cancel, but there were others that we wanted to make work no matter what,” Heintz said. “Music in the Park was one of them. This is a big community event, and with it being outdoors and having little to no physical contact, it wasn’t too difficult to make the decision.”
Library staff did decide to change locations to Wheeler Park in North Mankato, since the area has more space for people to spread out and abide by social distancing guidelines. Heintz also encourages people to wear masks while attending the event. In addition, there won’t be children’s events this year because it requires too much interaction between people.
“We hope that people will take advantage of this music series, but also be safe about it,” she said. “We would hate to see anything bad come out of this program due to people not following the COVID-19 guidelines.”
We think people are looking for things to do that are not virtual. An outdoor music event seems like the perfect solution. This is a great family event for all ages that will get people out of the house and be able to stay safe at the same time.Katie Heintz
Musical groups featured in this year’s lineup include Ditch Creek Dixies, Bee Balm Fields, Captain Gravitone and the String Theory Orchestra, and the Divers.
“Each year, we look around to see what local musician groups are out there, and then we contact who we like to see who’s available,” Heintz said.
There are also food stands at the events, run by S&B BBQ’s food truck some nights and Pizza Ranch other nights. The library has worked with both eateries in the past and has a good relationship with them.
The event series kicked off on July 9 with musical guests Ditch Creek Dixies. More than 250 people attended the first event, a “great turnout” according to Heintz.
Heintz said she hopes people take advantage of this fun, free series that can get them outside and able to see others while still maintaining safe health practices.
“We think people are looking for things to do that are not virtual,” she said. “An outdoor music event seems like the perfect solution. This is a great family event for all ages that will get people out of the house and be able to stay safe at the same time.”
Music in the Park takes place from 5-7 p.m. every Thursday in July. Bring your own lawn chair or blanket for seating. For more information, call the North Mankato Taylor Public Library or check out its Facebook page.