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Live entertainment set to return to Woodward Opera House

MOUNT VERNON – One of Knox County’s premier entertainment venues is reopening its doors this weekend for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

The Woodward Opera House, located at 107 S. Main St. in Mount Vernon, will host its first concert since February on Saturday, when singer/songwriter Lydia Brownfield comes to town.

Brownfield, of Columbus, regularly performs in Ohio, Atlanta and New York, according to a press release from the Woodward Opera House Conservancy. She has opened shows for Loudon Wainwright III, Peter Case, Shawn Mullins and Indigo Girls over the years.

Brownfield will be joined on-stage by Jeff Dalrymple, a versatile performer who also writes instrumental music for film and television. 

“His fingerstyle guitar work perfectly complements Brownfield’s ringing voice,” the press release said.

The show will begin at 7 p.m., with doors opening at 6 (for tickets, call 740-263-6737, email, or visit the Woodward’s website).

It will be the first public concert at the opera house since Feb. 22, when nationally acclaimed country artist Suzy Bogguss graced the main stage.

Two weeks later, Ohio recorded its first coronavirus case. Within a month, the state had shut down all non-essential businesses – including entertainment venues – in order to prevent the spread.

Gov. Mike DeWine lifted the shutdown late last month, allowing theaters, concert and music halls to reopen at limited capacity Aug. 26. Danny Gum, managing director of Knox Partnership for Arts and Culture (KPAC), said he and Woodward staff have since been working with Knox Public Health to devise a reopening plan that would follow state health guidelines.

“We want to keep people safe. We want people coming back,” Gum said. “So we’re following all the guidelines for safety.”

Gum views Saturday’s concert as a “trial run.” It will look substantially different from events the venue has hosted in the past,

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