By Lucas Vader
This article is a compilation of article segments from this year regarding Applefest. Links to each original article are included.
June 17: Applefest canceled
The Cedaredge Area Chamber of Commerce recently announced the cancellation of its signature event, Applefest.
The 43rd annual event, which was set for October, was canceled due to health concerns surrounding COVID-19. The announcement was made June 9, and a letter from the board of directors was sent out to the community soon after.
Applefest brings over 20,000 people to the small town of Cedaredge. According to the letter, the state’s public health order limits large gatherings which future orders are uncertain for what will be allowed. The board stated it did not see a way for this event to be done safely based on the guidance from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and Delta County Public Health Department.
According to board member Bruce Hovde, the board voted unanimously to cancel as this was a public safety issue.
Sept. 28: ‘Applefest’ car show rolls out despite the festival’s cancelation
By Lucas Vader
Taking place a week earlier than it normally would have and without the surrounding attraction of Applefest, the event was substantially smaller, with fewer than 40 entries compared to last year’s approximate 150.
The 2020 Pioneer Town Car Show coincided with the weekend of Color Sunday, during which the fall colors on Grand Mesa were allegedly at their peak.
The show still resulted in awards for six different categories:
• “Best Street Rod” went to Leonard Heyl’s 1934 Ford three-window Coupe.
• “Best Antique” went to James Lovelady’s 1928 Studebaker Commander Regal.
• “Best Sports Car” went to Craig Patterson’s 1986 Lamborghini Countach.
• “Best Classic” went to Mark Bristow’s 1965 Volkswagen Type 2 (camper).
• “Best Pickup” went to Richard Vanier’s 1959 Chevrolet El Camino.
• The “People’s Choice” award went to Codi Nelson’s 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air.
Dec. 15: Trustees aim to save Applefest
By Lucas Vader
In a public announcement, including a letter to the editor in the Dec. 9 edition of the DCI, the Cedaredge Area Chamber of Commerce (CACC) announced that it will be dissolving at the end of the month. This decision is credited to ongoing hardships cast by the COVID-19 pandemic, along with the lack of Applefest this year causing a loss in important revenue.
In its public statement, CACC assured that they “are in active conversations about the future of the event — please be assured that Applefest will continue!”
The small remainder of the CACC board of trustees addressed the town’s staff and board of trustees, particularly through Town Clerk and Economic Development Coordinator Kami Collins, who sits on the CACC board on behalf of the town.
“Had we had [Applefest] this year, it would have been our 43rd year, so [CACC] has been doing it for a really long time,” Collins explained. “This year, with the cancelation of Applefest due to COVID, we used 100% of Applefest revenue to support staff.”
The discussion for saving Applefest began with the need to pull together a community group of volunteers to organize the festival. Remaining board members of CACC have indicated that they would volunteer for this task.
The financial piece is, as Collins put it, “the big piece.”
“It’s kind of a weird position for me, being on both sides,” Collins said, “but the chamber board is asking the Cedaredge board of trustees if we would be willing to consider taking over the management of this festival under the economic development department.”
Collins reported that recent numbers have shown that it takes about $23,000 per year to run the festival, which then generates about $54,000.
The town would hypothetically be the financial backer while community volunteers, including CACC board members Cindy Starr and Dottie Whitlock, would serve on the planning committee for Applefest 2021.
The trustees unanimously showed interest in the Town of Cedaredge taking over Applefest from the chamber, with Trustee Heidi Weissner going as far as to call it a “no-brainer” for the town to take the reins.