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Arts & Culture

Why the Festival of Books went virtual


This story is from an interview on SDPB's daily public-affairs show, In the Moment, hosted by Lori Walsh.

Rising COVID cases and the delta variant have pushed the 19th annual South Dakota Festival of Books online again.

Ann Volin is the executive director of the South Dakota Humanities Council and said the decision wasn’t easy, but it was the right one to make.

“Looking at all the data and hearing from the different medical experts, they felt the surge is going to continue for several weeks," she said, "and that the counties where we were going to hold the festival in Deadwood in the surrounding area are in high-risk areas, and hospitals are already full. We felt that for the health of all of our friends who joined in the festival, that going virtual was the safest, best way forward."

Volin is disappointed the event won’t be in-person but said there are some upsides.

“I'd have to say environmentally it is a benefit because we know we have to be careful about emissions on the road," Volin said. "And if you're at home, you aren't driving 100 miles or 200 miles to the festival.”

Volin said last year's virtual event was a big success and hopes this year will be too.

The Festival of Books kicks off Sept. 30 and concludes Oct. 4.

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