Coronavirus impacts Groveport’s Apple Butter Day

By Rick Palsgrove
Groveport Editor

Like many things in this coronavirus pandemic dominated year, Groveport’s Apple Butter Day is going to be a lot different this year. A whole lot different.

“It’s going to be a scaled down event,” said Groveport City Administrator B.J. King.

In a statement sent to city officials, the Groveport Heritage Society said, “The Groveport Heritage Society has held Apple Butter Day in Groveport since 1974 when it began as a group of friends cooking apples over an open fire in a church parking lot.”
Noting the festival has since grown over the years, with the city’s help, into the large festival it has become, the statement continued, “We would hate to see the tradition of Apple Butter Day interrupted, if only for one year. Our plan is a revisit to the earlier days.”

King said he and representatives of the Groveport Heritage Society recently met with the Franklin County Health Department to come up with a way to somehow make Apple Butter Day happen this year.

The result is that this year the festival itself will not exist as there will be no craft booths, no historical displays, no bands, no entertainment (except for the possibility of piped up bluegrass music), no public attendance, no anything at Apple Butter Day except for the drive through sale of jars of apple butter.

Earlier this year city officials hoped to shoot off the unused Fourth of July fireworks on the evening of Apple Butter Day. However, city officials stated on Aug. 24 that the Apple Butter Day fireworks are now cancelled.

According to information provided to the city by the Groveport Heritage Society, jars of apple butter will be sold for $5 per jar from three or four drive through stations set up along Wirt Road in front of the Sharp’s Landing building and the log house on Oct. 10. Buyers will drive down Wirt Road from Main Street and be guided to a specific pick up station and exit through College Street or Rohr Road. There is a limit of two jars of apple butter purchased per family and payment is in cash only. Those wishing to purchase apple butter must call 614-836-3333 to order and arrange a pick up time within a two hour window. Pick up times are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. After 4 p.m. apple butter will be sold without appointments.

A small group of selected volunteers will make apple butter in Heritage Park on Oct. 3. The public is not allowed to attend the apple butter stirring on Oct. 3.

“It’s important that we keep the annual tradition of Apple Butter Day and its unbroken streak of being held since 1974, even though it is significantly different this year,” said King.

Added Mayor Lance Westcamp, “At least we salvaged something.”

Citizens’ reactions
Here are some comments from citizens about this year’s version of Apple Butter Day.

•Charlotte Barker: “It’s like everything else, different. I appreciate all the city and the school district have done to help us come through this with our sanity intact.”

•Marylee Bendig: “It won’t be the same. I appreciate the effort the city is putting forth to allow some minimal participation in this wonderful event for Groveport, but I will not be attending. In this pandemic, we are all experiencing difficult times. My office is closed to the public and appointments are scheduled with the proper adherence to the COVID-19 guidelines. I hesitate to deviate from anything else for the safety of my staff and myself. Not to mention liability. Apple Butter Day will not be the same. The all too familiar smells from the vendors as they prepare specialty food for the day, the handmade crafts, the smiles – all missing. The integral parts that make this such an enjoyable hometown event will be gone.”

•Matt Campbell: “This isn’t Apple Butter Day, it’s an apple butter sale and it should be called that. The year 2020 certainly has taught us the value of community events and tradition. As the song says, ‘Don’t know what you got till it’s gone.’ We need to remember that we need to remain safe and the memories of Apple Butter Days past will get us by until 2021.”

•Nicole Prestifilippo: “I am so disappointed that I can only say this plan is pointless and perpetuating fear in our community. People can buy apple butter from Kroger. They come to our event to enjoy our community spirit.”

•Terry Weaver: “We are all making sacrifices for the benefit of all. This is just another example of a sacrifice we are making. Having said that, I’ll miss all of it, but I think my family will especially miss the fresh pork rinds.”

Other pandemic affected fall events
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic continues to affect upcoming events in the community, including:

•9-11 ceremony – The Sept. 11 Remembrance Ceremony presented by Madison Township, the city of Groveport, and Motts Military Museum will not be open to the public. You may watch the ceremony live on the Madison Township Facebook age at 8 a.m. on Sept. 11. A recording of the ceremony will be available afterward. More details will be available after Labor Day.

•Veterans Day – Groveport city officials said on Aug. 24, that as of now, the city’s Veterans Day ceremony will be on Nov. 11 in Veterans Park, but it will be limited in scope similar to how the city’s Memorial Day ceremony was last May. This means the Veterans Day ceremony will include no more than 10 people, the public will not be invited, and it will be available to be seen as video online on the city’s social media sites.

•Halloween/Trick-or-Treat – On Aug. 24, city officials said the city’s Halloween block party on Front Street near Groveport Town Hall is in doubt. They said the city has received no official word yet from the Franklin County Health Department or the governor about whether trick-or-treat should be held.

Halloween and trick-or-treat by their traditional independent nature tend to be informal events that individuals participate in, or choose not to participate, in various ways. Trick-or-treat is not a city event.

Groveport City Councilman Ed Dildine said, “Halloween would be hard to control. People may still go around trick-or-treating.”

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