Coronavirus in Oklahoma: OKC's Plaza District launches 16th Street Saturdays today
Starting tonight, the Plaza District will close 16 Street from N Indiana Ave. to N Gatewood Ave. each Saturday through October for their weekly 16th Street Saturdays event.
The street closure is an effort to give space to visitors to socially distance during their time in the popular Plaza District. With the extra space, the Plaza District will host artist vendors and live music, continuing its mission to provide opportunities for the public to interact with the arts and artists, according to a news release.
“We’ve been working on how to safely bring people to the district for months now, and we think this is a solution where everyone wins,” said Selena Skorman, executive director of the Plaza District, in a statement. “With the street closed, we can ensure more room for our visitors and do some fun things for our patrons, like providing tables for people to grab carry out from their favorite restaurant and eat outside or hosting artists and performers.”
This weekend will include live music, an artist market, the start of Plaza Walls’ Mural Expo and several specials from Plaza businesses.
Skorman tells me the district is launching 16th Street Saturdays in response to the coronavirus pandemic and the harsh impact it has had on businesses in the district. As previously reported, the district canceled its fall Plaza District Festival and has temporarily discontinued its monthly LIVE on the Plaza art events due to the pandemic.
"We are creating more space for people to safely visit," Skorman said in an email. "We will also be providing more outdoor seating for patrons who want to order carry out food and eat outside."
On the third and fourth Saturdays in September, the Plaza District plans to revive its "Solidarity in the Plaza: Black Lives Matter" event. As previously reported, the inaugural event, which was planned on Juneteenth, was created to showcase Black artists, vendors, filmmakers and performers.
Although the festivities would be primarily outdoors, Skorman said as many as 10,000 people were expected to attend due in June to the high level of interest in the new event. Such a crowd would make social distancing virtually impossible in the Plaza District.
"We hope that two weekends will make the crowds more manageable. Plus, the street closure will help provide more space for visitors and artists alike to comfortably distance," Skorman said in an email.
She said more details on the rescheduled "Solidarity in the Plaza: Black Lives Matter" event will be announced soon.
The Plaza District's 16th Street Saturdays are planned from noon to 5 p.m. The Plaza District located on the 1700 block of NW 16th Street.
The Plaza District receives support from Fowler Automotive and Braum’s. For more information, please visit plazadistrict.org.