At least one aspect of pre-Covid life in Canby is set to come back this summer, with the Canby Livability Coalition announcing this week that the popular Slice of Summer concert series will return to Wait Park in August.
Slice of Summer will feature two concerts this year instead of the usual four, on Aug. 15 and Aug. 29, with the acts yet to be revealed.
The board of directors met on Monday to discuss Slice’s future and voted to move forward with a scaled-down version of the beloved community concert series — about 10 months after canceling 2020’s shows due to the onset of the pandemic.
“I’m excited just to get back some normalcy,” said board chair Lisa Leir, also the administrator of the community Facebook group Canby Now. “And seeing the community out enjoying a summer evening, chatting with neighbors, singing and dancing. I love it when people get up and dance.
A Canby tradition since 1985, the series ran out of gas in 2017 when the Canby Music Boosters — which had previously organized the concerts — was no longer able to run the event.
Fortunately, Canby decided one summer without Slice was enough, and a new group of volunteers — led by Leir — stepped forward to revive the series under the umbrella of the nonprofit Livability Coalition. The concerts feature local and regional acts and typically draw hundreds of music-lovers to downtown Canby, along with food trucks and shaved ice.
Now, thanks to the coronavirus, another Slice-less summer is in the books. Leir said she believes the community is ready for a cautious return to tunes and boogying.
“I think so, although I’ve been wrong before,” she said with a laugh. “I think people just want their lives back. People are sick of staying home and just want to do things they use to do.”
As one of the first music events in Oregon to confirm its return this year, finding talent was not a challenge this year, Leir noted.
“It wasn’t hard,” she said. “We let the bands that we canceled on last year have first dibs, and they jumped at the offer. I’m just sorry we can’t have all four, but we felt that would be too much this year.”
What the state’s coronavirus guidelines will look like in August is anyone’s guess, but it appears to be a safe bet that things will loosen up considerably, with vaccination rates rising steadily and new cases already on the decline.
Public health officials say the vaccine will be available to all Oregonians who choose to take it by early summer, and many Canby residents do seem eager to take their shot to hasten the return of normalcy.
But, after living through the pandemic, the devastating wildfires of last September and the recent historic ice storm, Leir has learned the lesson of being flexible.
“Things can change at any moment, and we might have to cancel again,” Leir said. “I sure hope not, but I’m not going to hold my breath.”
For the latest news, stay tuned to the Canby Livability Coalition’s Facebook page.
Photos courtesy the Canby Livability Coalition:
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