Reid’s Orchard announced Wednesday that the annual Reid’s Apple Festival was cancelled for 2020.
“It is with heavy hearts that we write this letter to you today,” a release stated. “Due to circumstances beyond our control, we do not feel like we will be able to safely have the Reid’s Apple Festival this year. We hope in 2021 the virus is under control and the apple festival can continue.”
A photo of a letter that was sent to vendors for the annual event was shared with the Owensboro Times. An employee of the orchard confirmed the cancellation.
Billy and Kathy Reid spoke with the Owensboro Times Wednesday about the difficult decision to cancel the festival that was preparing for its 37th year.
“We’ve been thinking about it all year with all the COVID going on,” she said. “I usually send out my letter about the apple festival at the end of May or June. At that point, we decided, let’s go ahead and plan it and see what happens.”
The two said they wanted to be prepared because they weren’t sure what the state of the virus would be when the festival was scheduled to take place in October.
Kathy said they were keeping their eyes on several events in the state, including the Kentucky State Fair.
“As time went on, it seemed like every one of them were starting to drop out,” she said.
When the Kentucky State Fair originally released its plans in regards to COVID-19, the Reids said it made them feel like they could have the festival because they had similar ideas in mind but that feeling didn’t last long.
“We were kind of excited about that and thought if the Kentucky State Fair can go on, I don’t know why we can’t. We can do this too,” she said. “Then we finally decided, we’re going for it. Let’s do it. Then the very next day the Kentucky State Fair said it’s going to be for participants only and not the general public.”
At that point, they said they needed to rethink their process.
“Our main concern was safety for our employees, our venders and our family too,” she said. “We decided that it probably wasn’t worth it. We really wanted to have it. Not just for us, but the apple festival is one of the major fundraisers for lots of groups and organizations in Owensboro. They haven’t had a chance to even have anything this year so we were hoping we could have it for them too.”
Billy said when the news of limited, then no attendance, at the Kentucky Derby was made, it was time to make a decision.
“When the Derby and the State Fair finally shut down, we just realized it was time to accept it and be safe,” he said. “Every day there’s 10,000 people out there and it’s a big eating event so people aren’t going to be wearing masks when they eat.”
They tried to think of other ways to hold the event but ultimately decided it was in the best interest of everyone involved to cancel.
Despite no festival, the usual attractions for Reid’s Orchard will still be open to the public.
“We can keep that under control a whole lot better,” she said.
For more information, follow Reid’s Orchard on Facebook.