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Enjoy area events, but put safety first

For more than seven months, we have been reporting on many events across the region that have been forced to close down for the year in response to restrictions and regulations that have been put into place to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

There are some events, though, that organizers have been able to move forward on.

One happens Friday, when First Fridays on Fourth returns to downtown Steubenville. The monthly outdoor street fair has become a much-anticipated place to relax and unwind. It’s grown since it was founded by the Harmonium Project in 2018 as a festival to show what is possible in the downtown area.

The theme will be Oktoberfest, and the evening will feature bands, a street market and late night shopping, as well as dining at local businesses, children’s games and activities, art displays, dancing and competitions.

Expect to see socially distanced seating, the organizers said, limited capacity in the festival area, participants wearing masks, reduced cash transactions and, of course, plenty of hand sanitizer.

And then on Oct. 8 and 15, a guided lantern tour will be conducted at Historic Fort Steuben. The hour-long event, which will be limited to 15 participants, will offer a chance to learn about the area’s history. Registration is required, officials explained.

Expect to see more events — very likely scaled-down versions of what we have seen in the past, in the coming months. Those include the annual Baron Club Dinner Nov. 14 on the campus of the Franciscan University of Steubenville; the return of the nutcrackers to Fort Steuben Park around Thanksgiving; as well as Christmas parades in Steubenville, Weirton and Wellsburg.

Caution, of course, will be the word of the day at each event, as we continue to navigate in a world that has been touched by COVID-19. That said, organizers are confident in the precautions they are planning to put into place which are designed to keep everyone safe.

So, if you planning to take part, we say enjoy yourself as you once again begin to spend time with you friends — but remember to put safety first, maintain your distance, wear a mask and use lots of hand sanitizer.

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