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DECC holds first event since start of pandemic

Emily Ness
Updated: July 10, 2020 10:43 PM

The lights of Duluth’s beloved Entertainment and Convention Center have been off since March. But on Friday, they were turned back on for the first event the venue has held since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. That event was a weekend long competition hosted by Ovation Dance.

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“The dancers were absolutely excited. I watched a few of them come in this afternoon and it’s the first time that they’ve been allowed to be in a public place other than their practice studio, so a lot of smiles on a lot of people’s faces from what we can see underneath the masks,” Jeff Stark, Venue Operations Manager at the DECC said.

At the event, masks were required for all staff, dancers and guests entering the facility. And, once inside, everyone underwent a mandatory health screening before entering the auditorium.

“Very limited amounts of people are being allowed in the building at once. The event is mostly actually virtually run, so you’ll see dancers that are on the stage, but the audience isn’t really present. They were only allowed to bring in two family members per dancer,” Stark said.

Sophia Wuirauch, a dancer from Duluth said it was great to be back on stage, even though this competition looked a little different—especially after learning much of her routine over Zoom.

“It was very fun, I enjoyed it a lot and I would definitely do it again,” Wuirauch said.

Although the DECC is not operating with their full staff or at full capacity, Stark said it was nice to see the building come back to life and added that the DECC does have plans to host more events slowly, but surely.

“We’re planning on having some hockey camps and potentially a tournament here in the next couple of weeks as well too, so things are coming back to life. We’re not up to the capacity that we’re normally at, but we’ll start getting that business back hopefully when there’s some therapeutics or some sort of an immunization that can be found,” Stark said.

According to Stark, the DECC worked closely with Dan and Susan Kuhn who oversee the Ovation Dance Challenge to ensure everyone's safety throughout the weekend.

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Emily Ness

Copyright 2020 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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