JEFFERSONTOWN, Ky. (WDRB) -- The coronavirus couldn't cancel a Jeffersontown tradition. The 51st annual Gaslight Festival may look a little different this year, but will still kick off Monday.
The city's historic Gaslight District won't be filled with thousands of people this week, but there will still be opportunities to celebrate the flagship festival.
"On a regular year we have about 200,000 people that come for the week's activities," Deana Epperly Karem, president of The Chamber of Jeffersontown said. "It's a longtime tradition, 51 years. We could not let this year go by without celebrating the Gaslight Festival."
Organizers had to pivot their plan to make the festival events appropriate for life in a pandemic.
"We have come up with a number of virtual options this week and COVID-safe options so that we can still celebrate the festival week," Epperly Karem said.
Events include a golf scramble, a virtual run/walk, a blood drive with COVID-19 antibody testing and a drive-thru balloon glow.
"It's a huge financial impact to our downtown J-town economy, so our business community rallied and said we've got to find a way to do this and do it well," Epperly Karem said.
Since there won't be large crowds downtown, there's a big push to encourage people to eat at restaurants in the area. Many of them will be offering Gaslight specials all week.
"We've got six foot distancing, a lot of space outside to sit," Greg Hayden, owner of 3rd Turn Brewing, said.
The brewery will be taking part and the owners are grateful the festival is still happening in some capacity.
"We appreciate them taking the time to give us the opportunity to still show off what we do," Hayden said. "Smaller crowds, yes, but still being able to show off what we do."
It's been a tough year for those in the hospitality industry, and losing Gaslight altogether would've been another big blow. But now there's hope this week will help give area businesses a boost.
"What they've done for us here in J-town is they've given us the opportunity to shine again," Hayden said.
For more information about 2020 Gaslight Festival events, click here.
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