Organizers of the longtime Warkworth Maple Syrup Festival have pulled the plug on this weekend’s event, citing the acceleration of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
On Friday morning, organizers posted that the 34th edition of the festival, which takes place in Warkworth, 60 kilometres south of Peterborough, would be cancelled.
The Warkwork Maple Syrup Festival, which was scheduled to run Saturday and Sunday, is one of the largest in the region and features sap-making demonstrations, food tastings, horse-drawn sleigh rides, entertainment and more.
The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit said on Thursday that there are no presumptive or positive cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, in the region.
The event’s Facebook page listed a number of reasons for the cancellation, highlighting health officials’ requests to minimize gatherings of more than 250 people.
Organizers stated they would be unable to ensure “social distancing” with normal crowd sizes of 1,000 to 2,000 people a day, many of whom arrive on buses and are in activity lineups.
They also said the cancellation was necessary to protect their volunteers, many of whom are seniors, and that the decision came out of a desire “not to provide an environment where our children are at risk.”
“Our desire to do our part in ‘flattening the curve’ and keep this horrible virus from spreading to our area and Ontario,” the post stated.”Please follow the guidelines on staying safe as we face down this virus.”
Sandy Flat Sugar Bush, which hosts some of the festival’s activities, said a “difficult decision” was made to cancel the festival. The sugar bush will still be open for sales.
“Unfortunately, there will be no breakfast this weekend,” the business wrote on Facebook. “From our family to yours, please stay healthy.”
The cancellation comes shortly after the Maplefest in Buckhorn, Ont., announced it was cancelling its festival, which runs each weekend in March.
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