Large event center adapts while large events are banned

Updated: Aug. 13, 2020 at 3:00 PM EDT
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LYONS FALLS, N.Y. (WWNY) - At a time when large events aren't allowed, what happens to large event centers? One has just opened after several years of planning and shows us how it's trying to make things work.

The 3 Willows Event Center in Lyons Falls has been a long, expensive, labor of love project and is finally ready to hold large events in a time when large events are banned.

"This has been the last way we thought we were going to open this venue. Who thought anything like this would happen," said Tori Scott, 3 Willows Event Center operations manager.

3 Willows is close to 1,300 square feet and can hold events of 500 people - just not right now.

"Some of our weddings had 400 people planned. Obviously, things had to change, so now we are just trying to be creative with our time and our energy and we're focusing now on much smaller things so we can still provide services in such a beauftiful venue," said Ashley Galligan, 3 Willows Event Center venue coordinator.

One way the business has adjusted is by taking a deck, intended for wedding use, and making it an outdoor restaurant.

"We actually decided to start offering elopement packages and micro wedding packages and that keeps us under max capacity. People can still do social distancing, people still get to have their day," said Scott.

Another frustration is that venues still don't have specific guidelines from the state, so they have to use restaurant safety guidelines, keep guests limited to 50, and hope they aren't fined.

The hardest thing for 3 Willows hasn't been the finances or the scrambling to make adjustments, it has been having to call clients and cancel their special day.

"To have to make that phone call or email with such a heavy heart and tell them, this is something we can't do legally, that's been the worst part of it," said Scott.

But the venue has high hopes for the future, where dozens can enjoy the new space.

“I think through it all, love is not cancelled and we have found a way for a couple to still be able to have a special day,” said Galligan.

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