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Downtown Sykesville Connection drops two wine strolls, voicing concerns about bad weather for outdoor events

The Downtown Sykesville Connection plans multiple events throughout the year, but the prospect of bad weather has led the organization’s leadership to back out of two planned outdoor events.

The Downtown Sykesville Connection has decided not to proceed with plans for two wine strolls that would have been held in August and September.

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As a result of past events being inhibited by poor weather, town officials don’t want to risk losing money on events that could have a poor turnout.

“The board of the DSC actually decided not to go forward with [the strolls]. The risk, weather wise, was too much,” said Councilman Leo Keenan III, liaison to the Downtown Sykesville Connection. "Losing money was not an option; rather than running the risk, we’re just not going forward with those at all.”

According to Julie Della-Maria, executive director of the Downtown Sykesville Connection, the events were in the early stages of planning and getting permits — and had not yet been advertised publicly — when they decided to no longer proceed with them.

In the council’s June 10 meeting, it authorized the Downtown Sykesville Connection to do two more events planned for August and September.

The previous two major events that the town has hosted have experienced bad weather that kept people away, according to Keenan.

“The reward is not worth the risk,” he said.

The Art and Wine Festival the town held this past May only saw a quarter of attendees, Keenan said.

The Sykesville Craft Beer Festival is the only event currently listed on the town’s website through the rest of this year — aside from the weekly Sykesville Farmers Market.

“I believe the root cause of the issue is that the effects of climate change are rapidly escalating within our society,” Councilman Jeremiah Schofield said in an email. “In order to address this challenge, we must be vigilant in our efforts regarding environmental stewardship, which begins in our local communities. Otherwise, we must make risk-based decisions and focus on completing events that are less impacted by the weather.”

Councilwoman Stacy Link has no concerns about future events in Sykesville and believes that it’s nothing other than weather to blame.

“It’s just that with any outdoor event, its success is weather dependent. Weather did not cooperate with our Wine Festival this past spring, you may recall,” Link said in an email. “But no, as a Council member, I have no concerns with respect to any of the DSC’s highly anticipated and well attended future events.”

Some of the DSC’s art projects, such as the town’s new parklet and the crosswalk art at the intersection of Oklahoma Avenue and Baldwin Drive, experienced delays because of weather.

“There is always a concern when you have to deal with Mother Nature’s tantrums for outdoor event planning,” Della-Maria said in an email. “We have to measure risk and gain and decide if the investment is worth the return. During the summer, volunteer availability is also a concern.”

According to Della-Maria, the DSC runs mainly through volunteers: 12 who comprise the DSC board, 40 who help two to four times a year with events, and 100 to 150 onetime volunteers who help with larger events.

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