Cornelia cancels this year’s Big Red Apple Festival

The Big Red Apple Festival is Cornelia's signature event. It was started 33 years ago and is the city's largest annual gathering. (Daniel Purcell/Now Habersham)

The Cornelia City Commission announced today it has canceled this year’s Big Red Apple Festival due to continuing concerns over COVID-19. In making the announcement, Mayor John Borrow said the commission did not arrive at its decision lightly.

“This will be the first time the festival has ever been canceled,” Borrow says. “However, the state and country are seeing similar decisions in communities of all sizes.” 

Commissioners based their decision to cancel on a number of factors including what Borrow calls “the unknowns and potential risks” associated with hosting a gathering of potentially thousands of visitors. He says those risks “were too great to continue with the event.” 

The Big Red Apple Festival, which has been Cornelia’s largest annual gathering and hallmark event for the past 33 years, was scheduled to take place on September 26. Before deciding to cancel it, officials considered enforcement of social distancing guidelines, vendors, smaller crowds, fewer volunteers, and the rising number of COVID cases in the region, state, and country. “The commissioners also considered the health and safety of Cornelia employees, volunteers, business owners, citizens, and visitors,” the mayor adds.

Borrow commended the hard work of Cornelia’s Community Development Director Jessie Owensby and her team for the work they put in planning and organizing the festival.

“We are optimistic about the future as we emerge from this pandemic,” he says. “We appreciate everyone’s understanding and we are excited about what we are planning in 2021.”

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