Chamber and Borrego Days


Last updated 5/6/2021 at 9:40am

Like everyone else, when the board of directors and me hear the words “full reopening” we think of Borrego Days 2021. Then reality hits us and the doubt creeps in. In the Editorial column of the Borrego Sun's previous issue it was mentioned that Borrego Days is doubtful.

With that said and tentative dates in place – October 22 – 24, I want to make sure that everyone understands the challenges currently involved with the festival and that if it doesn’t happen this year there are several reasons why.

In order for the Chamber to have Borrego Days planning must begin at least three months in advance, typically no later than July 1. Committees are formed, vendors contacted, licenses and county permit forms filled out and ready for submission, notifications and approval by the Sheriff’s Department and so on. All of this is done knowing that the county (due to covid restrictions) will not approve permits until a 30 day period prior to the start of the event (waiting for approval came down to the wire for the Borrego Film Festival). That right there is a huge challenge when asking people to commit, monies invested, etc.

The street closure for the parade has its own guideline’s that must be followed which involves both the county and the police. Remember that a parade needs participants of all types to be a success, and it also needs parade goers to watch it. Can this be done to the county’s satisfaction, we don’t know yet.

Currently guidelines for outdoor events have capacity restrictions, meaning Christmas Circle and the Beer Garden will need to have individual fencing to monitor the amount of attendees in and out of the park at any one time. To fence off Christmas Circle would be a tremendous cost and frankly take the fun right out of the festival and put severe income limitations on participating vendors. We are all used to flooding the Circle and the beer garden, listening to fantastic entertainment, eating festival foods while shopping and watching the children play.

You ask, “What if we have a smaller event?” The same guidelines, restrictions and permitting process will apply and we all know that once the word got out that Borrego Days Desert Festival is happening everyone will want to come, and we want everyone to be able to attend comfortably and enjoy themselves.

So without writing a novel, I hope this helps a tiny bit to understand that it isn’t a simple Chamber yes or no decision. We have to consider the overall picture for everyone involved. With that said we still have some time to see what happens with the outdoor event guidelines, and rest assured that if we can produce a fun filled Borrego Days Desert Festival we will!

Françoise Rhodes,

Executive Director

– Borrego Springs Chamber of Commerce & Welcome Center


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