The event still some eight months away, the uncertainties causes by the coronavirus pandemic have prompted the cancellation of this year’s Wellesley Apple Butter and Cheese (ABC) Festival.
The organizing committee announced the decision Friday morning, saying it was too much of a risk at this point to schedule an in-person event, even one scheduled for September 25.
Festival committee chair Jamie Reid said planning typically gets rolling at this point in the year, with so many unknowns making preparations difficult, prompting the cancellation.
“The scheduling and preparations typically start in January every year. So, in order for us to go ahead with the festival we would have to start right now preparing and lining up all of our vendors and everything else. We had a meeting on Wednesday evening with the committee executives, and it was a unanimous decision, basically based on the fact that even with the vaccines coming out, now that we’re in a shortfall of those, we couldn’t really be sure that everything’s going to be back to normal by September,” Reid said of the process that led to the cancellation.
“We get approximately 30-40,000 people in our little town, and I’m not sure that people are going to be ready to gather in that form yet. We’re as upset as everybody else is that you can’t go ahead with the festival this year,” he added, noting the organization intends to continue with its focus of raising money for community groups.
“We’re still supporting our town.… We’re still giving money, and we’re still here – our main goal is to just make Wellesley better. And we will be back when we are able to do so better than ever.”
Reid says the committee is looking into other options for the festival including hosting a raffle to bring in funds, as was the case last fall when the ABC Festival was cancelled as an in-person event.
There is also the potential to do something virtual to support the 200 or so vendors that take part in the festival each year, though the committee will probably wait to see how things go with the virtual Elmira Maple Syrup Festival this spring before deciding how to move ahead.
“This festival was kind of based after the Elmira festival. Looking at the success of that festival we kind of based our main goals and format off of that. So, we’ll definitely take a look and if I can at all be in contact with any members of the Elmira committee, we would definitely try and work together and see what works and what doesn’t work because they’re in the same boat as we are,” Reid added.
He says despite the cancellation, the committee is still following through in their work to support the township. The committee recently contributed $20,000 towards a new recreation centre planned for Wellesley.
The next in-person iteration of the ABC Festival is scheduled to take place on Sept. 24, 2022.