DEAR MISS MANNERS: What advice do you have for organizers of annual events, in light of cancellations brought on by the pandemic?
If I were the organizer of, say, the 75th Annual Springfield Souvenir Spoon Show and Swap Meet, I would have already made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 event. So, what do I call the show and swap meet that I am organizing for 2021? Can it still be labeled an annual event, even though we skipped a year? And is it the 75th?
I just canceled that jubilee event! Can we celebrate our 75th show in 2021 and still, in good conscience, proclaim to be an annual event?
GENTLE READER: While the COVID-19 pandemic may be new, the reality that unanticipated events will affect the best-laid plans is not. Europe is littered with summer festivals that went on hiatus during World War II, if not for the Fourth Crusade.
Next year’s Spoon Show and Swap Meet will be the 75th, even though it is the 2021 event. Miss Manners reminds you that there are two reasons to explicitly label an event as annual: the hope that when people attend this time, they will put it on the calendar for next year; and the bragging rights of being an institution. The former will, one hopes, have effect again soon. And the footnote around the latter will enhance your reputation by emphasizing your longevity.