MORGAN COUNTY, WV (LOOTPRESS) – The Apple Butter Festival has been canceled for the second consecutive year due to COVID-19.
The Berkeley Springs-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce announces that the Apple Butter Festival will be canceled for a second consecutive year. Plans to hold the festival were moving forward following current CDC guidelines until early last week, but after numerous discussions with regional hospitals and medical professionals, a unanimous decision was made by the board of directors to cancel early this morning. “We have been tracking numbers locally and regionally for a few weeks,” said Chamber Director Lori Hansroth. “Last year there were 12 confirmed cases in Morgan County for the month of August, and as of August 29th this year there are 139 confirmed cases. Most state and national researchers are projecting that the peak of the current surge will hit between mid-September and mid-October, with a sudden drop-off that could last from one to four weeks.”
“Unlike other nearby festivals and fairs, Berkeley Springs doesn’t have a large, gated location that would allow us to control admission and provide for greater social distancing that could better protect event attendees. Safety and the well-being of our community are a priority.” said Board President Terri Beard, “We understand that many in our community and vendors use this event to provide financial support for the year, unfortunately deferring the decision could also cost them. We had to make the best decision with all of the information that we have available.” Even still, the festival must make “cents.” Festival revenues must be able to cover the costs required to provide the event, such as non-refundable event insurance, licenses, permits and rentals that must be paid in advance. Should the Governor’s office decide to limit gathering sizes or cancel festivals without notice over the next few weeks, the community and Chamber of Commerce could forfeit significant funds.
“As a board of directors, we absolutely hate having to make this call and we recognize it may not be a popular one at that. Everyone loves the magic of the Apple Butter Festival, and we realize that it’s the people and community that make it so special. It’s important to protect that,” said Beard.
The announcement comes after officials from both the WV Forest Festival in Randolph County and the Italian Heritage Festival in Clarksburg announced their cancellations over the last week.