The festival board of directors announced Feb. 16 that the Grand Street Parade would be moved to New Minas. A news release states that the locations of several other events would be announced during the coming weeks on the festival website.
Mayor Sandra Snow said the Town of Kentville was advised of the change only two hours before the news release from the festival went out. They have only three months notice of the parade – one of the largest festival events - leaving town.
“I’m totally perplexed and concerned about this break in festival tradition,” Snow said.
She said Kentville has hosted the parade for 83 years and they’ve taken ownership of it. Now “it’s gone.”
Snow said the town is requesting a meeting with the festival board of directors to discuss the change. Snow said the town has supported the distribution of festival events across the Valley over the years and it wishes all municipal partners success with their events.
However, Snow hopes there is still time to have the decision to move the parade reconsidered. She said the town is still hoping to host other events, such as the children’s parade and fireworks. They hope to host a rink dance and a street dance too.
According to the news release, the festival board of directors will be “taking small steps this year to transition events to once again be held across the entire region.” Several of the large events have been held in various communities across the Valley in the past.
Festival interim president Alxys Chamberlain said, as the festival board of directors, it’s their duty to uphold the integrity of the festival and to proceed with an event that captures its founding missions.
She said residents and communities from across the Valley have spoken and the board of directors has listened. It is in the best interest of the traditions of the festival to make these changes to ensure the Annapolis Valley Apple Blossom Festival maintains its longevity and promotes all areas of our beautiful region.
“Various events will begin to be moved around the Valley,” Chamberlain said. “We will be releasing this information throughout the month of February.”
Citing confidentiality, Chamberlain said she wasn’t able to release any further information about which events would be moved at this time.
She said a large part of the reasoning is to spread the benefits of the festival around, which goes back to the festival’s original mandate and mission.
Snow pointed out that there is an entire emergency measures plan that goes along with Kentville hosting the parade. She wonders how a similar plan for New Minas will be created in just three months. Snow said it seems there are many issues that haven’t been considered.
Snow said she hasn’t received any feedback on the parade being moved from any of the other mayors and it doesn’t seem like there has been any consultation.
The festival was introduced in 1933 to publicize the apple industry and scenic beauty of the Valley and to help foster the development of local talent through various festival events.
This year’s festival runs from May 24 to 29 with the theme “Rooted in Tradition.”
For more information on the festival, visit www.appleblossom.com.