Fans of the NEXTies, mark your calendars—but be sure to do it in pencil.
The annual ceremony and celebration of local arts, culture, cuisine and entrepreneurialism was originally scheduled for March 20. But it was among the first big local events to be suspended due to statewide shutdown orders during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Now, the NEXTies have re-emerged with a new date, Oct. 9, when 20 individuals and organizations will be singled out to be honored in such categories as Foodie of the Year, Mentor of the Year, and Give Back Person of the Year.
“We’re moving it to October,” says the show’s producer Matthew Swinnerton of Event Santa Cruz. “Though to be honest, I don’t even know if it’s going to happen then.”
Swinnerton says he is trying to remain flexible in staging the NEXTies, and if the spread of the pandemic is as high-risk in October as it is today, he reserves the right to make other plans.
Among the ideas he’s wrestling with, if the October event can’t go on as planned, is a live Zoom version of the show, a pre-recorded video or some hybrid of the two. Swinnerton says that he is trying not to lose the live, in-person element of the event. “The point of the NEXTies is people coming together and having a great time together,” he says. “And we want to properly honor the recipients, and encourage the community.”
The Oct. 9 event is slated to take place at the Hotel Paradox in Santa Cruz. Honorees include musician Lindsey Wall, restaurateur Akindele Bankole, muralist Taylor Reinhold, organic farming pioneer Cathy Calfo, and Good Times new editor Jacob Pierce, among others.
“One of the good things to come out of this,” says Swinnerton, “is that I’ve really wanted to change the date of the NEXTies to the fall anyway.”
For ticket information, or announcements about changes regarding the NEXTies, go to eventsantacruz.com.