It’s a sad week in Knox County. What many of us feared was unavoidable came to pass. Our beloved Daniel Boone Festival fell victim to COVID-19.

The festival is one of the most recognizable things about Knox County — the festival and Union College are what most people think of hundreds of miles away from here. In fact, many people come from hundreds, some even thousands, of miles to partake in the annual festival that until this year, was the longest-running continuous festival in Kentucky. The future of that claim is obviously up in the air right now. But that’s a matter of trivia.

What we will miss out on is the gatherings of people we only see a few times a year. We’ll miss the annual coronation sponsored by the Jr. Woman’s Study Club. We won’t get to partake in the Pancake Breakfast or witness the signing of the Cane Treaty at the annual feast.

Kids won’t get to enjoy the carnival rides and games and there will be no parade to watch on that Saturday. Gone for this year are the funnel cakes, chicken and dumplings and other things that come to mind as staples of the great Daniel Boone Festival.

While this is a bump in the road for an already-difficult year, the committee did what was best. The potential right now to expose thousands of people to the coronavirus is just too big to ignore. I applaud their decision in a very trying time. And, from what I’ve seen on social media, even though people are upset, in general they understand and are okay with it.

The Advocate will publish a special commemorative section this year honoring the festival during the first full week of October. Be watching for it.

As for me, I’m already smelling chicken-on-a-stick for next year.

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Charles is a native of Barbourville, Kentucky. He has worked with The Mountain Advocate in various capacities since 2003.

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