DUBUQUE, Iowa (KWWL) - For the first time in 143 days, the lights were back on at the Five Flags Center.
The Dueling Dogs World Championship is in town this weekend. This year's event looks different than years past, but Five Flags Center marketing manager Jesse Gavin said it is a step closer to the new normal.
"Closer to normal but different," he said. "I think that is how things are for a lot of things as we head into the fall."
To keep the public and participants safe, staff members have implemented new safety procedures.
Masks are required, some seats in the stands have been blocked off to encourage social distancing, and the concession stand is closed.
This weekend is the first time the staff has been able to test out the new safety procedures.
Gavin said the Dueling Dog's Championship is the perfect event to start with.
"For our staff to come back in, go through and learn some of these new safety protocols and be able to put them into place with an event that has a limited number of people," he said. "It is only two or three hundred of these competitors as opposed to a concert with thousands of people."
While Five Flags could host or schedule all of the shows it wants, Gavin said it would ultimately be up to the public will to judge when it is entirely safe to hold large gatherings again.
"It is a matter of gauging where that customer comfort level is to see what we can put on the books and when," he said.
Before this weekend, the last event held at Five Flags Center was "The Price is Right Live!" on March 14. Gavin said it came right in the middle of the center's busiest few weeks.
"For the shows that we did have scheduled, the vast majority we got lucky and we were able to postpone rather than cancel them," Gavin said. "So we are just looking for whatever that date is that we can get back to business."
The Five Flags Center does have a few events and shows on the schedule for the fall.
The Dueling Dogs world championship runs through this Sunday.