The Brushy Mountain Ruritan Club issued a press release Monday evening stating “with deep regret” that the Brushy Mountain Apple Festival has been canceled for the second year in a row to avoid health risks posed by COVID-19.
The event was scheduled Oct. 2 in downtown North Wilkesboro, where the Brushy Mountain Ruritan Club has held it every year since the second festival in 1979, except in 2020 and now 2021.
“This decision has not been made lightly or in a vacuum. We have had input from many places, including members of the Ruritan club, the Town of North Wilkesboro and data from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services,” the release stated.
“This decision was made solely by the Brushy Mountain Ruritan Club and we are the only ones responsible for this decision. We sincerely hope that folks will understand and support us in this decision.”
The release said the recent marked increase in COVID-19 cases locally helped push the issue to the forefront.
“As the festival is outside and in a downtown setting with many ways for the public to access the event, we do not feel we have adequate control to provide even the most basic precautions to monitor the crowd,” it continued.
The release said that due to staffing shortages, the task of putting on the festival has become even larger.
“If we were to have the apple festival and it were to become a ‘super spreader’ event, we would risk the lives of anyone in attendance and, possibly, the entire future of the apple festival. None of that is something we wish to claim for the apple festival.”
The release said the club realizes that canceling the apple festival will negatively impact many people and that some non-profits in Wilkes County, already suffering from cancellation of last year’s festival, will have an even harder time now.
“We are truly sorry for that. However, considering what is at stake in this time of COVID, particularly considering the recent surge in cases locally and the severity of those cases, we felt that we had no other choice.”