By Meg Walburn Viviano
Hold onto your masks (err, hats), Chesapeake Country: Experiences are back. You know, the kind you can best appreciate in person—the ones where “virtual” just isn’t the same.
Now that COVID-19 vaccinations are open to all adults in Maryland and over 47 percent of us have had at least one shot, CDC guidance says public life is safer than it was a year ago.
While some things have been coming back little by little (schools, restaurant dining, services like the public library), others have been on hold completely.
Live theater, for example, typically takes place indoors in venues where people are seated close together, and the players are projecting their voices to speak or sing. Aside from a handful of creative outdoor shows, most performances had to happen exclusively online—or not at all. Pivoting to virtual performances is a commendable accomplishment during these trying times, but as theater lovers and performers will tell you, it just doesn’t create the same chemistry as live interactions between actor and audience.
Now, after a lot of patience and flexibility, one all-volunteer theater group has found a way to safely put on in-person performances (https://bayweekly.com/live-theater-returns-to-stage/), and CBM Bay Weekly gets to bring our Playgoer theater critic, Jim Reiter, back for the first time in more than a year.
Another sorely missed experience in our boat-centric region: the major boat shows that usually mark the seasons in Maryland. There are the fall sail and powerboat shows that transform Annapolis City Dock, the indoor Baltimore Boat Show where we dream of summertime, and the springtime Bay Bridge and Annapolis Spring Sailboat shows that (unofficially) kick off boating season.
Sadly, large gatherings like boat shows, where people tend to wait in line and gather around entrances, were just too dangerous at the height of the pandemic, in populated areas like Annapolis and indoor settings like the Baltimore Convention Center. Boaters and potential boat-buyers have been taking virtual tours or making private appointments dealer by dealer, but it’s just not the same as walking the boat show docks to take it all in.
With COVID-19 vaccination rates up and case rates lower, the boating industry is saying the show must go on—but with modifications—just as the theater world has. This weekend Annapolis Boat Shows will combine their Spring Sailboat Show with the Bay Bridge Boat Show together as one, just over the bridge in Stevensville, with safety measures in place. For the first time in over a year, Marylanders can check out hundreds of boats all in one place and learn skills and tips from our CBM seminars (https://chesapeakebaymagazine.com/largest-combined-spring-sail-powerboat-show-kicks-off-on-kent-island/).
So, whether it’s that “new boat smell” you get at a boat show or the palpable emotion of a live theater performance you’ve been missing, now is your chance. And if neither of these tickles your fancy, Bay Weekly’s Bay Planner stays on top of all the other experiences waiting for you this weekend: An electric car show? Guided walking tour? Fairy and Gnome Festival? Get out there and experience.