For the second year in a row, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the cancellation of the Lincoln County Apple Festival. The announcement was made Monday morning (Sept. 20th):
The joint City of Lincolnton and Lincoln County Public Safety Committee has determined that the public resources necessary to safely produce the Lincoln County Apple Festival are not available. The Safety Committee includes the Lincolnton Fire Department, Lincolnton Police Department, Lincoln County Emergency Services, and the Lincoln County Sheriff's Department.
The festival requires full support and staffing from city and county first responders and staff; there is limited staff available to support the event in addition to concerns for city/county employee health & safety. Area hospitals, including Atrium, remain at surge capacity and may not be available in the event of an emergency or mass casualty event. Lincoln County Covid metrics indicate a highly active current rate of community spread and increased caseload without evidence of declining activity.
The safety of our employees, residents, and visitors is of utmost importance. Unlike other local events, which are much smaller, require far fewer resources, and allow for more controlled event entry, the level of support required to provide for public safety at the Apple Festival is simply not available. Therefore, we have made the difficult decision to cancel the Apple Festival scheduled for October 16, 2021.
Apple Festival Director Carole Howell told us she is still planning on trying to do some smaller 'events'--possibly fried pie sales at a downtown location, sales of apples by apple growers, etc. "We've already ordered the t-shirts...possibly our best design ever. We didn't put the year on them; turns out that may have been a good idea. We hope people will buy them when we announce locations for purchase--their sale will help to support the return of the Apple Festival next year. The virus has won two years in a row; we don't want it to succeed in eliminating this event any further."