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COVID-19 changes Cranberry Festival lineup

By Veronica Burniston
Freelance Writer

Due to COVID-19, the 28th Annual Shady Valley Cranberry Festival will look different this October.

“We want to continue with this year’s festival to help keep the sense of community alive,” Sheena Murray, the Cranberry Festival President, said, “while also keeping our community safe.”

Founded in 1992 in Shady Valley, Tennessee, the annual Cranberry Festival is held the second weekend in October at the Shady Valley Elementary School. Created to aid in Valley education and opportunities, the festival’s proceeds benefit the Shady Valley School and scholarship funds.

After much consideration about this year’s event, the Shady Valley Cranberry Festival Committee decided to omit the Friday night Bean Supper for the Olan Bentley Memorial Scholarship as well as the auction. Although both events help raise money for the Valley community, the Committee agreed it was best to delay the auction till the Soup Supper in March.

As for Saturday events, the Committee also decided to forgo the parade and inflatables due to the need for social distancing and proper sanitation.The main Saturday event will continue with live music, craft and food vendors, as well as an early breakfast. However, the Shady Valley Fire Department will not be hosting their annual pancake breakfast; instead, the Shady Valley Preservation Society will serve hot biscuits, gravy, and sausage.

In addition to the event changes, the festival will open an hour earlier at 10 a.m. and will extend longer, if necessary, to manage crowd size.Regarding vendors, the Committee asks those who have tent sides and/or flaps to please use them as partitions to separate from other vendors.

“We will encourage masks to be worn and encourage social distancing guidelines,” Murray said. “We want this festival to be a great one, while keeping everyone safe.”

Although the Bean Supper and auction will not take place this year, scholarship donations can be sent to the Shady Valley Cranberry Festival or the Olan Bentley Memorial Scholarship at 423 Highway; 133 Shady Valley, TN 37688.

For more information about the upcoming festival, contact the Committee by e-mail at [email protected], by phone at 739-2422, or on Facebook at Shady Valley Cranberry Festival.