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Keep the party going

Isle of Wight’s coming-out party after more than a year of COVID-19 hibernation has been a blast.

Our takeaway from the Isle of Wight County Fair in September and the more recent Bacon, Bourbon & Music Fest at Windsor Castle Park is that people are ready to socialize and have a good time. We commend the many volunteers with the fair committee and Smithfield VA Events, which sponsors the bacon and bourbon event, for the countless hours required to make such signature events successful. They are good for the community’s economy and the collective psyche of county residents. This year’s events, which were treated very kindly by Mother Nature, reminded us just how much we missed them in 2019.

Downtown Smithfield merchants, after a few weeks of consideration, decided to bring back Halloween festivities on Main Street, yet another sign of the community’s return to normalcy. We look forward to hosting young gremlins and goblins again on the The Smithfield Times front lawn, including the annual costume contest, which will take place at 5:30 p.m. on the gazebo stage. Trick-or-treating with Main Street merchants will be from 5 to 7 p.m.

We have just one request if, like us, you want to see community events continue without interruption: Get the COVID-19 vaccine or, if you’re already vaccinated, encourage friends and family who are not to join you in the ranks of the vaccinated.

As of Friday, 72.6% of Isle of Wight County residents ages 18 and older had been vaccinated, according to the Virginia Department of Health. That lags the statewide vaccinated rate of 73.5%, so more progress is needed.

A COVID spike recently in Isle of Wight, when Oct. 2 was the third-highest single-day case count since the pandemic began in March 2020, was a fresh reminder that this is no time to let your guard down. We also are encouraged by fresh evidence daily that so-called “breakthrough” cases in vaccinated people are much less severe, rarely leading to hospitalization or death.

Getting the final 27.3% of the community vaccinated will go a long way toward ensuring that the fun continues in a reopening Isle of Wight.