announced July 7, 2020
After much deliberation, paying careful attention to local and national news related to the COVID-19 pandemic and after consulting with some of our long time volunteers, the Burke Area Chamber of Commerce board of directors has decided to cancel the Burke Fall Festival scheduled for September 26, 2020 in East Burke, VT. The popular event has happened in the village for the last 32 years, always on the last Saturday in September. Residents and visitors alike flocked to the village for a full day of fun including a parade, huge craft fair, BBQ, kids’ activities, wagon rides, music and more.
While it was hoped the festival could happen this year, the board unanimously agreed there is just no way the event can go on safely with the ongoing need for social distancing and not gathering in large groups. Given the scientific prediction of a resurgence of coronavirus in the fall and in the best interest of the health and safety of volunteers, vendors, festival-goers and community members, the decision was made to do the responsible thing and cancel the event this year.
A great deal of planning and expense goes into the festival, much of it done by volunteers with full time jobs and/or businesses of their own to manage. Craft fair vendors also spend a lot of time and expense creating goods to sell at the festival. While it is certainly hoped that the pandemic subsides and event restrictions in Vermont ease up by September, it is too risky for all involved to start all of that preparation now only to find out a few weeks prior to the event that it must be cancelled for public health reasons.
We are extremely grateful to all our volunteers, many of whom have been involved with the festival for double digit years and take on tremendous responsibilities related to the event. Many thanks to all of them especially Diane French of the Lyndon Motor Lodge who organizes the parade which kicks the festival off each year, Chris Emmons who took on the huge task of managing the craft fair a few years ago, and of course, our fantastic BBQ chef, Fritz Walther! They are just three of the many people who make the festival go off without a hitch each and every year (except this one). We are also very appreciative of all the local businesses that sponsor the event, our craft fair vendors, and of course, everyone who attends the festival, whether they come just one year or have been going for decades. The Chamber hopes to organize some smaller events this summer and fall that bring the community together in a safe way and benefit local businesses. While we are disappointed the festival will not happen this year, we look forward to the best and biggest fall festival ever in September 2021!