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Grape Festival returns with COVID safety measures in place

After a nearly two-year hiatus, the Tontitown Grape Festival returns. The recent spike in the COVID-19 case has organizers implementing changes.

TONTITOWN, Ark. — The annual Tontitown Grape Festival is making a comeback after a year off due to the pandemic. However, with cases rising  across the Arkansas the COVID-19 safety precautions are in place.

Northwest Arkansans can expect to see the return of spaghetti dinners and grape ice cream Tuesday, August 3 through Saturday, August 7.

“This year, numbers were going down,” said Grape Festival chairman Blake Ceola. “We started planning for these several months in advanced."

The recent spike in COVID cases, caused 

“We reduced our seating inside,” said Ceola, with organizers bringing chairs outside instead. “Doubled our outdoor seating and we expect more takeout dinners,” Ceola said. Leaving that outside space for people to enjoy their spaghetti dinners for takeout.

Workers and those preparing food will be masked while guests are given the option to mask but are encouraged.

“Everyone’s just encouraged to follow the CDC guidelines and be as safe as possible,” said Sargent Corey Jenison with the Tontitown Police Department.

In addition to grape ice cream, spaghetti dinners and carnival rides, the festival is also offering in a COVID-19 vaccine station beginning with the event and ending Saturday. “UAMS will be coming to set up a vaccination tent. They’ll be here starting Thursday at 3,” Ceola said.

If you’re passing through Tontitown this week, police say Barrington Road to Highway 412 will be reduced to a one-way with only northbound traffic. Barrington Rd. will be closed Tuesday through Sunday to be used for festival parking only.

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