To borrow a malapropism from famed New York Yankee catcher Yogi Berra, will 2021 be “Déjà vu all over again?”
The answer at this time, based on many factors including continues restrictions and the current problematic vaccine distribution in New York, is “maybe.”
The Warwick Valley Chamber of Commerce recently issued a survey asking local vendors, business owners and non-profits if they would participate in a virtual Applefest running from Oct. 2 through Dec. 31.
Applefest, which was canceled last year, attracts more than 30,000 visitors each year and for many non-profits, has become their largest fundraiser.
Restaurants and local businesses benefit from this largest of Warwick’s outdoor events and those who are members of the Chamber are also invited to participate in the virtual event.
The only requirement is that they have a business website, Etsy account or Facebook Business page and a way to handle payments and shipping.
Does that mean the traditional outdoor Applefest is canceled again?
“No! We haven’t thrown in the towel,” said Michael Johndrow, executive director of the Warwick Valley Chamber of Commerce. “No decision has been made on a live or virtual event. And we can do both.”
He explained that a similar survey taken last year did not produce sufficient positive results but at that time many local businesses and organizations did not have Websites. But in the past year and during the pandemic restrictions, they learned the value of this relatively inexpensive investment.
The problem with Applefest, he added, was there is no easy way to limit the crowd. And the event requires close coordination with the state and the county.
The Applefest Committee has until June 1 to make its final decision.
Other chamber events
Applefest may be the largest but there are other popular outdoor events that residents look forward to each year. And since they attract less people, they can be spread out for social distancing.
The Community Showcase in downtown Warwick, for example, which is scheduled for the first weekend in May, was canceled last year. .
“This year it may be OK by May,” said Johndrow. ”But we can always move it back.”
And in the fall, the chamber is also hoping to resume the popular Taste of Warwick.
Corrine Iurato, president of the Warwick Merchant Guild, is still optimistic and not planning to cancel events like the July Sidewalk Sale, Ladies Night Out and Queen for a Day until the last moment.
“As of this day,” she said, “we’re still planning to host all our outside events.”