It was announced on Tuesday that the Boones Mill Apple Festival has been postponed.
The festival was originally scheduled for Sept. 18, but the Boones Mill Apple Festival Volunteer Committee made the decision over the weekend to postpone it in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Although the Town of Boones Mill doesn’t officially coordinate the festival, the town manager, B.T. Fitzpatrick III, serves as a liaison between the festival and the town. Based on the rising number of cases locally, he made the decision to ask the committee to consider postponing or canceling this year’s festival. The Boones Mill Town Council didn’t take an official vote on whether the festival should go ahead as planned, but it did suggest that the committee postpone it for the time being.
“The good health and safety of our town residents, business owners and visitors is our utmost priority,” the town said in a statement.
The festival has been rescheduled for Oct. 16. “This would give an additional five weeks to allow the spread to subside,” the announcement said of the decision to move the date of the festival.
Fitzpatrick stressed that the situation is fluid. A decision about whether to move forward with the festival in October will be dependent upon the state of the pandemic at that time.
“It’s going to be based on the numbers,” he said. “If we see that the cases start coming down, then it will likely happen on the 16th. If the cases continue to rise, then it will probably be canceled.”
On Sept. 7, the Virginia Department of Health’s COVID-19 dashboard showed a seven-day average of 28 cases in Franklin County.
Last year’s festival was canceled due to the pandemic.
Fitzpatrick said that the festival draws quite a crowd. At times, 10,000 people have attended the festival in a given year. Around 5,000 attended the festival the last time it was held in 2019.
“This year will be the 43rd annual Apple Festival. It is a huge part of Boones Mill,” he said. “It continues to be a wonderful event, one in which a lot of residents of the town like to be a part of. It’s a great way for the community to come together.”