| Beaver County Times
There won’t be a sweet spring on tap for 2021 after all.
PUSH Beaver County has decided to postpone the annual Maple Syrup Festival due to the uncertainty of COVID-19, Beaver County Commissioner Jack Manning said Wednesday.
“The date is too tenuous given the current state of COVID and ongoing restrictions of Harrisburg and the number of people allowed at indoor facilities,” Manning said. “They feel it would be very difficult for them to have the Maple Syrup Festival and to serve the pancakes and maple syrup, so therefore… they decided to cancel.”
It’s a bittersweet situation, said Regis Collins, chairman of the festival for PUSH, but there wasn’t much choice.
“Due to the continuing COVID pandemic, the entire state is still considered high risk,” said Collins, who works in public health. “In the forseeable future, with public health concerns, voluntary participation in vaccinations and other issues right now, it does not look like we would be able to do the event his year.”
The celebration of sweet syrup, pancakes and vendors has been one of the county’s biggest tourism draws for decades.
The Beaver County Conservation District had run the two-day event for more than 40 years. But after the district came under fire by state officials for its handling of permits, its board realized there needed to be a priority shift, conservation district officials said, and created a partnership with PUSH.
The conservation district opted out of solely sponsoring the annual event late last year and spent months seeking a co-sponsor. PUSH was slated to take over the festival entirely in 2021, but those plans were delayed.
In March, as the coronavirus began to change life across the region and country, PUSH officials announced they would not host the event in 2020, but intended to do so this spring.
Manning said organizers hope to start planning for the event later this year. He’s hopeful for a successful event in 2022.
“They’ll be in a better position from a COVID standpoint, from a marketing standpoint,” Manning said. “It’s disappointing, but I certainly respect the decision, with all the uncertainties and planning that had to take place,”
As soon as public health concerns come under control, volunteers will be ready to start planning for a new Maple Syrup Festival in 2022, Collins said.
“I don’t want to see the tradition end,” Collins said. “We simply just could not make the festival a success this year.”
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