Nova Scotia

Apple Blossom Festival cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns

One of the most popular festivals in the province has fallen victim to the COVID-19 outbreak. The Annapolis Valley Apple Blossom Festival was due to start May 27.

Popular festival long seen as unofficial kickoff of Annapolis Valley tourism season

An apple orchard in bloom in Grand Pré, N.S. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

One of the most popular festivals in Nova Scotia has fallen victim to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Annapolis Valley Apple Blossom Festival, which was due to start May 27, has been cancelled for this year. 

"We are very confident that this was the only decision we could make," said Apple Blossom Festival president Logan Morse. "We looked at different options such as postponing to different dates, but it just really wasn't feasible to move to any other date."

The Apple Blossom Festival is steeped in history going back to 1933. The festival is seen as the unofficial kickoff of the summer tourism season in the Annapolis Valley.

But there was simply too much risk for the festival to carry on this year.

"We looked at every alternative, but unfortunately because of the COVID-19 pandemic it was virtually impossible to find a way to move forward with the festival and protect our community at the same time," said Kelly Rice, Kentville's chief administrative officer.

A float from the village of Port Williams is shown in the 2018 Apple Blossom Festival grand parade. (Facebook)

The beautiful aroma of apple orchards in the area in late May and early June, along with the natural beauty of the blossoms, has always made the advent of spring in the area a special occasion.

Losing the festival will be a big economic loss, as many people who grew up in the area typically return home each year for the event.

"It certainly is a large economic driver and we are quite confident that next year when the festival comes back it will really be bigger than ever," said Morse.

Vendors and other contractors that have been booked will be contacted by festival officials over the coming weeks. Vendors and grand parade entrants who have already paid fees for 2020 will also be contacted for refunds or credits toward 2021.

The organizers of another Nova Scotia festival, the East Hants Tide Fest in July, have also announced this year's events are cancelled. The festival is known for its washer toss tournament.

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