- Festival’s fate decided Tuesday, July 28

Seymour's historic Owen Theatre will play host tonight to the final 2020 festival planning meeting.

Today is decision day.

Specifically, decision day for the 48th annual Seymour Apple Festival.

At a 6 p.m. meeting at the historic Owen Theatre on the south side of the city square, the Seymour Merchants’ Association will decide whether the community-wide celebration, held continuously since 1973, will be held this year.

“We’re opening this meeting to the community, as input from our local residents is being solicited,” explained Renne Davidson, the association’s president.

Grady Bennett is the festival’s general chairman.

Those two will preside over Tuesday’s meeting, which will open with a polling of those present to acquire a vote of those in favor of and opposed to holding the festival during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

In two previous festival-planning meetings, the consensus has been to move forward with the event.

However, the group’s vote has moved more toward the middle between the May and June meetings.

In May, the vote was 18-3 in favor of holding the festival.

The vote was 11-6 in favor of holding the festival at the June meeting.

During Tuesday’s meeting, respective festival chairpersons will give reports from their departments.

The festival’s main-stage entertainment already has been booked. “Geezer” will play on the Friday night of the festival, while “The Mark Chapman Band” plays Saturday night.

Combined, nearly $5,000 will be spent on those two main-stage acts.

This year’s festival is set for Sept. 10 through Sept. 12.

Last year’s three-day event drew an estimated total of 30,000 visitors and produced record food sales.

The Seymour Apple Festival is one of Missouri’s largest small-town celebrations, offering free entertainment over the course of three days on the city square. There are nearly 150 total vendors in indoor and outdoor booths.

Festival planners said next Tuesday’s decision is final.

“Whatever is decided (at Tuesday’s meeting) will be the final call regarding the festival, whether it’s a yes or no,” Davidson said. “There won’t be another meeting to reconsider that decision. We’ve got to make a call one way or another, because when this meeting is held, we’re only six weeks from the festival’s dates.”

In previous meetings, festival planners have gone forward in anticipating the event will be held.

However, those plans have been made assuming that no masking or social-distancing requirements will be in place.

Many festival chairpersons have said they aren’t willing to operate their venues with restrictions.

Everyone is welcome to attend Tuesday’s meeting at the Owen Theatre, which starts at 6 p.m. Drinks and snack foods will be available.

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