The Lincoln County Apple Festival is the countyâ€™s signature attraction of the year, bringing thousands downtown for an event that has been celebrated for more than 30 years.
Because of that long tradition and the important role the festival has for various fund-raisers, its cancellation and the boardâ€™s subsequent failure to reschedule it is more than a disappointment. Itâ€™s a let down of major proportions. Itâ€™s difficult to understand what was so complicated about putting the festival off another week or two.
The decision to cancel was valid, given the forecast of heavy rains and winds as the remnants of Hurricane Ivan sweep through our area on the very day of the festival. But there should have been a contingency plan in place, a practice adopted by most of the major festivals. Of course, hurricanes donâ€™t come our way that often, and this was not an event anybody could have anticipated. But why not reschedule? Certainly, many vendors may not be able to make it on a rescheduled date and prior commitments for the usual participants would take their toll. Certainly, previously scheduled commitments on the part of law enforcement and other agencies would have to be altered. But thatâ€™s what you do when you are dealing with a major event â€” adopt new plans and find a way to preserve all of the efforts that have already gone into this festival. It is that important.
In the future, we urge the Apple Festival board to adopt a contingency plan that provides an alternative date in case of severe weather problems.