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Curve aiming for on-site fireworks show

Amount of people allowed at July 4th display still unclear

In addition to providing fireworks on July 4 for a TV and radio audience, the Altoona Curve are planning to accommodate patrons at the ballpark for the show, according to General Manager Derek Martin.

It’s not yet certain how many, though, based on the state’s coronavirus guidelines.

Martin initially hoped the Curve could bring in 3,000 spectators, based on an interpretation of the guidelines that placed the fireworks show in the sporting-event category for the green phase of reopening — a category that permits stadiums to be filled to half capacity.

On Friday, however, Martin learned from the Curve’s attorney that the event could not be considered in the sports category, but would need to abide by the 250-person limit applicable to concerts and festivals, Martin said.

Still unanswered, however, is whether the Curve can fill that quota both inside the stadium and out — 250 people distanced from one another in the stands and 250 cars in the parking lot, Martin said.

If the answer is no, the Curve will probably opt for the outside choice — 250 cars in the lot, he said.

That would allow for more individuals, as many cars would come with multiple occupants, he said.

The Curve plans to sell beer, soda, water and food.

For the outside event, the area where the cars are parked would need to be “contained” to comply with a Logan Township ordinance that applies to affairs that serve alcohol, township officials said.

Martin hopes to comply with the containment rule by parking vendor trucks end-to-end along Park Avenue.

He’s not certain whether the cars in the lot would need to avoid every other space to comply with social distancing rules, he said.

If the rules would have permitted filling the stadium to half-capacity for the event, the Curve would have placed attendees in every other seat in every other row, which would have provided 6 feet, 4 inches between people, enough for social distancing, Martin said.

If the club ends up placing just 250 people in the 7,210-seat stands, there would obviously be no trouble maintaining social distance.

“We have been following the guidelines,” Martin said. “We don’t want to ruffle any feathers.”

Still, the whole situation is “frustrating,” he said.

The Curve is hoping to “bring some positivity” to the community with the July 4 event, especially given that DelGrosso’s Amusement Park and Lakemont Park, which is adjacent to the stadium, are not having fireworks this year, Martin said.

The club also wants to bring in some revenue, given that the virus has canceled the baseball season up to July 1, so far, he said.

Baseball may be possible after that, but it’s also possible that the club could end up going 18 months with no baseball revenue, he said.

The family-owned organization hasn’t laid off any employees, unlike many Eastern League teams, Martin said.

It had “to get creative” to bring in something, he said.

DelGrosso’s has canceled its entire season and all events, park spokeswoman Amy Mearkle said Friday.

Lakemont began a phased reopening today but isn’t setting off its usual fireworks display on July 4 because the park wouldn’t be able to control the crowd to ensure social distancing, said park President Andrea Cohen.

The park is closing at 7 p.m. that day, two hours early, for a similar reason — because it wouldn’t be able to control the crowds that would gather to watch the Curve’s fireworks, Cohen said.

The Curve’s plans, however, are “fantastic,” especially putting the event on TV, so people can watch safely at home, Cohen said.

The township supervisors were supportive of those plans.

“Thank you for this,” said Chairman Jim Patterson. “And for being creative. The board is unanimous in trying to help.”

Mirror Staff Writer William Kibler is at 949-7038.

By the numbers

New/total COVID-19 county cases: Blair 1/55 (1 death); Bedford 2/48 (2 deaths); Cambria 1/61 (3 deaths); Centre 4/169 (7 deaths); Clearfield 5/55; Huntingdon 2/239, 4 deaths (5 inmates have died at SCI-Huntingdon)

Area new/total cases: 15/627

New/total cases statewide: 799/78,798 (74 percent recovered), 630 positive serology tests

New/total deaths statewide: 53/6,215

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