KIMMSWICK, MO (KMOX) - In another major hit to this small, historic, tourist town, the Kimmswick Board of Aldermen has voted to cancel October's Apple Butter Festival.
Mayor Phil Stang says with COVID-19 cases increasing, and people still refusing to wear masks, the city had no choice.
"A rational human being would follow CDC guidelines and so on, around wearing masks ... we believe it's just too dangerous to play that game," He says even if most people wore masks at the festival, which draws hundreds of thousands over two days, it still would not to be safe. "Even if we did well, and it was only 10% (not wearing masks), you're talking about 10 to 15,000 people walking around with no masks with the potential to spread the virus. It's just too dangerous. We can't do it."
The cancelation means that the city's two major festivals – the Strawberry in the Spring and October's Apple Butter, which generate 80% of the city's budget – have been canceled this year. Last year, the Strawberry Festival was canceled due to flooding and the first day of the two-day Apple Butter Festival was basically washed out by heavy rains.
Stang says that leaves the city limping along until the end of 2020, "That puts us into exploratory mode, if you will, as to how we will come up with enough revenue to run the city. We're obviously in danger of laying off people.
"We will start to try to be extremely innovative, and I'm not sure what that really means," he says. "We may be in the Go Fund Me business pretty soon."
He says they also accept donations and have gotten a few. "They're small," he says, "$100 here $250 there and so on. But, it gives you hope that if you spread it out as an actual campaign you might be able to get some actual real money to help us out."
Stang adds, "I wasn't kidding when I started talking about Go Fund Me, because we might do that."