Coronavirus concerns force cancellation of Apple Scrapple Festival

Katrina Russell and brother Logan Russell try on their Junior Firefighter helmets at Bridgeville Volunteer Fire Company’s Fire Prevention table during last year’s Apple Scrapple Festival. (Delaware State News/Glenn Rolfe)

BRIDGEVILLE — COVID-19-related concerns have forced the cancellation of one of the region’s most popular events in Bridgeville’s Apple Scrapple Festival.

“It was a very difficult to make this decision because this festival is the largest fundraiser for dozens of our local nonprofits. Our community depends upon the revenue that this festival has been able to bring in for them every year,” said Apple Scrapple Committee Executive Director Karen Johnson.

Numerous church and school groups and civic and community organizations annually bank on the early autumn event to financially support their year-long community efforts and activities.

“There are so many nonprofits that are going to be affected negatively by this decision. But in the end, it was the decision that had to be made for our committee and for our community,” said Mr. Johnson.

Apple Scrapple, whose name is drawn from two of Bridgeville’s recognizable industries, T.S. Smith & Sons and Rapa Scrapple, has grown from 2,500 visitors in 1992 to more than 25,000 in recent events when staged in fall weather.

The 29th edition of Apple Scrapple was to be held Friday and Saturday, Oct. 9-10

According to the Apple Scrapple Committee’s Monday announcement: “After carefully considering the safety and well-being of our volunteers, vendors and attendees and review of the restrictive requirements, the agonizing decision to cancel the 2020 Apple Scrapple Festival has been made. Please join us for the 2021 Apple Scrapple Festival on October 8-9, 2021.”

At the Woodbridge High School Performing Arts booth, Dawn Lord, left, and Sydney Weinkam prepare hot scrapple sandwiches during the 2019 Apple Scrapple Festival. (Delaware State News/Glenn Rolfe)

Amid huge disappointment and sadness, social media chatter also questioned the committee’s decision to cancel.

“One of the comments on Facebook is, ‘Well, if the Delaware State Fair is opening, why can’t you?’ That is one of the factors with the Delaware State Fair. They do have gates. With the Delaware State Fair, they have a larger footprint, and unfortunately for our festival we do not have those,” Ms. Johnson said.

“The Apple Scrapple Festival has such a large fan base that being able to control the amount of people that would flock to our community and to our streets is nonexistent. We have no way to limit the number of festival-goers in the town of Bridgeville because it is an open-air street festival. And that was part of and one of the factors that made this decision to cancel,” said Ms. Johnson.

“We truly hope that in 2021 we will have a festival that celebrates the disappointment of 2020 and the excitement of 2021.”