A potential silver lining to the coronavirus pandemic is that when it’s over we might have greater appreciation of things we never imagined having to do without.

For one thing, we may better realize the importance of certain events to the finances of local institutions and nonprofit organizations and how the events build community and a sense of belonging.

For a lot of people locally and elsewhere, one of the first big shocks of the pandemic was cancellation of Wilkes Community College’s MerleFest in mid-March.

Doing so obviously was the right move, but the feeling left after the 2020 edition of this Americana music festival was canceled was like a big hole.

Nothing soothes the soul like live music and the lack of opportunities to hear it over the last nine months worsened the pandemic’s impact. Cancellation of most of the area’s live music events since March has been hardest on musicians.

My church hasn’t had in-person worship services since early in the pandemic and I miss singing in church as much as any part of the services. The old hymns I grew up singing mean more to me over time.

Dr. Jeff Cox, WCC president, said earlier this month that the latest projections for the pandemic indicate that delaying MerleFest 2021 from late April to Sept. 16-19 next year was the right decision.

If that’s the case, it’s reasonable to expect the Brushy Mountain Apple Festival to return to downtown North Wilkesboro on Oct. 2, 2021, as scheduled.

One of the largest one-day arts and crafts events in the Southeast, this festival was held every year on the first Saturday in October for 42 years until 2020. In 2015, it survived the threat of remnants of a hurricane that hit the Carolina coast.

No event equals the sense of community achieved by the Brushy Mountain Apple Festival, organized and carried out by the 25 or so members of the Brushy Mountain Ruritan Club in cooperation with the Town of North Wilkesboro.

Even though they likely will be held, the long-term impact on big events like MerleFest and the Brushy Mountain Apple Festival is left to be seen.

I missed going to Friday night high school football games this fall. The N.C. High School Athletic Association delayed the public high school football season because of COVID-19, so the first games are now scheduled Feb. 26 and the last regular season games on April 9.

Having a high school football season that late in the school year is hard to imagine. There will be seven regular season games instead of the usual 10.

The public high school basketball season, which ordinarily would just now be starting, was also delayed. The first games will be played around Jan. 4 and the last regular season games on Feb. 19.

There’s nothing like going to a high school football or basketball game between two evenly-

matched teams in the place where you live and/or came from, especially if it’s a big rivalry.

It’s convenient, inexpensive and personal if you attended one of the high schools and know some of the players or their families. Even the lack of perfection on the field or court, along with budding talent, make the games more enjoyable.

Unfortunately, it won’t be surprising if some high school sports are canceled this year due to the worsening wave of COVID-19 cases.

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