Events have slowly begun to return as the pandemic continues to wind down. In Las Vegas, the NASCAR Weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway just completed with fans in attendance.
The Golden Knights have welcomed back fans to T-Mobile Arena. Both events have had fewer fans in attendance than what the governor had approved for sporting events. Gov. Sisolak approved up to 20 percent capacity, but the Southern Nevada Health District countered with a 15 percent limit.
Restrictions are set to loosen again on March 15. Businesses operating at 35 percent should be able to move to 50 percent capacity, and public gatherings will move to 250 people or 50 percent capacity.
The Electric Daisy Carnival will be the first large-scale live music event held since the shutdown. The EDC is set for May 21-23 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Other big events are on their way back also. The twice-rescheduled Garth Brooks concert at Allegiant Stadium is now scheduled for July 10, 2021. The Life is Beautiful arts and music festival recently announced its performer lineup. Singer-songwriter Billie Eilish, Rock &Roll Hall of Famers Green Day, psychedelic music artist Tame Impala and rapper A$AP Rocky headline the list of more than 60 artists booked for the Sept. 17-19 event. The Smith Center has scheduled its first performance with Alisan Porter, the winner in season 10 of “The Voice”, for June 18.
Conventions, the Las Vegas tourism industry’s lifeblood, will make a return in June with the World of Concrete convention on June 8-10. The convention is the first to occupy the newly remodeled and expanded Las Vegas Convention Center, which has sat vacant since its completion. On a smaller scale, the Las Vegas Market returns to the Expo at World Market Center on April 11-15.
Dozens of other minor and major conventions have rescheduled for dates later in 2021. Las Vegas is gambling on the full return of major conventions and events in 2022.
As important as the return of events is to Las Vegas and our state’s economy, the benefits for rural communities extend beyond the dollars an event generates. For communities like Pahrump, events offer the opportunity for a community’s residents to gather together, socialize, and have fun without leaving the area.
Local events can increase pride and community spirit, strengthen regional values and traditions, preserve our local heritage, and add a diversity of things to do in the community.
We want our local events to return, and we want them to return soon. Yes, we all know that we need to practice Covid safety, wear our masks, maintain social distancing, etc. We know the drill, and we still want to get back together soon.
We want to go to soccer games, Little League, high school rodeos, parades, balloon festivals, swap meets, 4-H meetings, vendor fairs, fireworks, and anything else you can think of where people get together outside of their homes and get to interact with other humans.
In what we hope is just the first of many major events to return to our community, the BOCC has approved the Pahrump Fall Festival for September 21-23. As more restrictions get lifted over the next few months, more events will be added to our local calendar. We will once again be able to socialize, visit, and have fun at local events.
Of course, I hope that we can eventually quit wearing masks in public too. You either can’t understand what someone is trying to say to you through their mask, or you aren’t sure who you are talking to because most of their face is covered. The masks put a damper on that whole socializing thing. Mask burning parties might be the most popular social event of 2021!
Tim Burke is a businessman, philanthropist, educator and Pahrump resident. Contact him at email@example.com