Cancellation of 2020 Apple Fest a Big Test for Bayfield Businesses

It is arguably the cities largest event, and at times, can bring in over 60,000 people to a town with a popular of under 500.

BAYFIELD, Wisc. – This year, the fall season in Bayfield will be looking different.

“Certainly overwhelming. Very large crowds come into town over the weekend. When the weather is nice, typically the streets will be packed body to body with people,” Howl Owner, Mary Thiel says.

That won’t be happening with the cancellation of the 59th annual Apple Fest, and many local businesses will be paying the price.

“It’s kind of like a Black Friday situation. I think most businesses would say it’s probably their biggest money making weekend of the year,” Thiel says.

The festival typically generates 8-10 million dollars in revenue each year according to members of the Bayfield chamber of commerce.

Now, the city will showcase everything else they have to offer to keep tourists coming around.

“We still have the orchards, we still have the apples, we still have the stores and art galleries and everything here,” Bayfield Chamber of Commerce Executive Dirctor, David Eades says.

And having those options still available may allow other businesses to flourish.

“We’re still a fall destination. We’re just going to promote like we always do, our area. We’ll just expand it from a three day weekend to four or six weeks,” Eades says.

The only grocery store in town, Andy’s foods, has been around for almost a century.

Despite the rotten news of the cancellation, employees expect commitment to the Apple Fest will lead to crowds still showing up.

“I’m sure that we will have people coming a week before to tour the orchards, buy their apples, buy their pies and that sort of thing,” Andy’s Foods Cashier, Marlene Paap says.

With safety the top concern for town folks this year, many are already thinking ahead to the next and planning a very special 60th anniversary for the festival.

“We’ll just have to celebrate triple next year.”

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