Highland County Maple Festival canceled for second year

Published: Jan. 15, 2021 at 2:57 PM EST
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MONTEREY, Va. (WDBJ) - The Highland County Chamber of Commerce has canceled both weekends of the 2021 Highland County Maple Festival, originally scheduled for March 13-14 and 20-21, 2021.  

The decision was made because of state social distancing and other guidelines concerning the coronavirus pandemic.

In a typical year, according to event organizers, the Maple Festival draws thousands of people daily throughout the county in densely packed crowds. Current state guidelines restrict mass events to a total of 250 people, including all staff, vendors and volunteers, making it difficult to safely hold the event, which was also canceled in 2020 for similar reasons.  

According to a festival release, “Even though the majority of the overall festival takes place outside, the state requirements of crowd control, social distancing and extensive cleaning processes in these high traffic areas is just not feasible.  The state guidelines require that ‘establishments must either implement the … mandatory requirements or remain closed.’”

Organizers say, though, the coronavirus “does not stop the sugar water flowing from the trees, nor does it stop our county’s dedicated producers from producing their maple syrup as they have done for decades.” Even though the festival is canceled, certain Chamber member businesses and organizations, including sugar camps, have made plans to be open in the late winter and spring, following the state guidelines specific to their designated business types.  

More information about Chamber member offerings will be forthcoming at in the coming weeks and months.

The Highland County Chamber of Commerce says it “fully understands the immense and overwhelmingly negative implications that will occur to the local economy, businesses, school system, nonprofits, civic organizations, churches, individuals, vendors, and visitors, as well as the Chamber of Commerce itself, based upon two years of these unprecedented and undesirable decisions.  However, we are fully committed to holding the Highland County Maple Festival in the future when it is safe and viable to do so.”

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