Baldwin City’s annual Maple Leaf Festival is officially canceled for this weekend, but a virtual festival will still be held online.
"Decision to cancel the 2020 Maple Leaf Festival is necessary," said Mike Curran, committee president. "It is the right step for public health safety during the coronavirus pandemic."
The annual festival typically draws 30,000 people to Baldwin City with 300 booths from across the country.
"It supports the local nonprofit community through food booth proceeds," Curran said.
But not all is lost for the nonprofit organizations and shoppers. In the decision-making process, committee members created a 2020 Virtual Maple Leaf Festival experience.
"Talk was turned to action with the creation of a virtual Maple Leaf website, mapleleaffestival.com," Curran said.
"We felt it was important to create a virtual website that highlighted vendors," said Lynn Hughes, committeeman and website developer. "It also had to provide visitors online purchases through a link to vendor websites."
In addition to vendor links, the website features a virtual parade, quilt show, Maple Leaf Festival history and T-shirt sales.
"Proceeds benefit the Baldwin City nonprofit community," Hughes said.
So the 63rd Maple Leaf Festival is on with a twist, organizers said.
"Stay home and shop Maple Leaf products and celebrate online," Curran said.
Shoppers may visit mapleleaffestival.com on Friday and Saturday to participate in the festival, Hughes said.
"Share your pictures on social media using #mapleleafmemories," Curran said.
Pets are allowed at the virtual Maple Leaf Festival. Curran invited people to share photos of theirs with the hashtag #mapleleafpets.