ERWIN, Tenn. (WJHL) – The Unicoi County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors announced on Thursday that one of the county’s biggest annual events has been cancelled due to coronavirus concerns.
“The first reaction that we had was ‘Why not? What are we going to do now?’ Because this was our biggest event that we have to showcase Erwin and Unicoi county So, it’s heartbreaking that we’re not going to be able to have it,” said Erwin Mayor Doris Hensley. “I’m proud of the chamber of commerce that they chose to put the people’s safety over their needs right now.”
According to a post from the Unicoi County Apple Festival, the 43rd annual festival had been scheduled for October 2-3.
Hensley says that most of the vendors who participate are from out of town and that she expects that nonprofits like the library and animal shelter will be impacted most.
“We saw a slight increase in our sales tax when we had the Apple Festival. I think that the ones that are going to be hurting are the vendors, the non-profits that were there. I don’t know what it’s going to do to the Chamber of Commerce,” Hensley said. “Hopefully it won’t have too much of an impact on the county or the city or more importantly for the public or those vendors that depend on the revenue that they get from their sales during the Apple Festival.”
Festival organizers said in the post that after months of reviewing possible scenarios, no safe options seemed to present themselves.
Organizers also said in the post that plans are already underway for the festival to return in 2021.
“Hopefully, after this is over with they can come up with some more events, Hensley said. “I can’t say it’s going to be better than the Apple Festival, because I don’t think you can get any better than the Apple Festival. But, at least we can get some events that can get some people into Erwin and Unicoi County.”
For more information, call the chamber of commerce at 423-743-3000.