The Runnin’ O the Green is tentatively scheduled for April 17 in Jamestown, said Larry Knoblich, founder of the event.
The annual pub crawl, canceled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, drew an estimated 2,000 people in 2019, he said.
The event raises money for Camp Grassick and people with cancer. It’s also a boost to the bars, restaurants and hotels in the city, which have lost business since the pandemic began.
Knoblich expects to make a firm decision on the event around March 17, he said. COVID-19 cases will be a factor, and Knoblich said he did not want the event to be a “superspreader” for the virus.
“That would be the big thing as far as I’m concerned that we would have to worry about,” he said.
COVID-19 cases have been dropping in Stutsman County, with seven active cases reported on Thursday.
“The fact that we’re going to do it that late (during the month of April) hopefully it will have good weather and we can do most of the activity outdoors,” Knoblich said. “I don’t want anybody to end up getting sick because they wanted to participate in something like this.”
Knoblich said he has no way of knowing if the event will draw more or fewer people this year but even if a thousand people attend that helps local businesses.
“It’s a big thing for Jamestown and I really want to continue it,” he said. “It’s just a very, very big financial day for the people of Jamestown and of course we shouldn’t put finances ahead of public health.”
Mayor Dwaine Heinrich said he’s encouraged that spikes in COVID-19 cases didn’t happen after the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s holidays as predicted. But he said it was possible that if there was a major spike in cases again it could affect the planned date for the Run.
The weather in April could also be unpredictable.
“On April 17, it could be 70 degrees and everybody’s in shorts and T-shirts,” he said. “But we could be in a blizzard.”
Heinrich noted it’s been a tough year for business and more people are being vaccinated in the community.
“We have to be mindful of the fact that a lot of our restaurants and bars and motels have paid a price this last year and an event like this could be the difference for some of them of surviving or not surviving,” he said.
In addition, businesses that need to plan to have enough supplies for the Run need time to do that, he noted.
The City Council will be considering the measures put in place related to the pandemic on Monday, Heinrich said. That includes the face mask mandate which is still in effect.
“Whether we go forward with a mask mandate or we don’t that will be a decision of the council,” he said.
Heinrich said the measures were put in place for public health and so medical facilities would not be overwhelmed. He noted vaccinations are effective, they’re proceeding and more people are expected to be vaccinated by the time the Runnin O’ the Green is scheduled.