GRAND RAPIDS, Ohio — A fall staple for northwest Ohio was missing last year, but it's coming back this weekend.
After a year off due to COVID-19, the quaint Wood County village of Grand Rapids will go from a quiet main street to one brimming with festival-goers and exhibitors with the return of the Applebutter Festival.
"It's important to the community; it's important from our standpoint that life goes on," said festival co-chair Steve Kryder.
Organizers have been planning since January to make sure what's presented this weekend will can fulfill festival-goers' need for crafts, food, and of course: apple butter.
While also making sure everyone involved feels safe during the ongoing pandemic.
With an outdoor festival, most COVID-19 protocols will be voluntary.
"The only place we really worked in a bit of distancing was in the craft areas down the street. We had a number of people who either decided not to come and so, we've got some natural spacing that will occur there," said Kryder.
Along with the festivities, more than a dozen local nonprofits use the Applebutter Fest as their primary fundraiser for the year.
This is why organizers wanted to make sure the festival didn't have a 2-year absence and felt like the festival didn't miss a beat for those attending.
"Actually, we want to bring back familiarity. So, the park area down here is the heart of the fest where we make the apple butter. There's demonstrators down here in the park and on the toe path, and we just want to bring all of that back for everyone," said Lisa Hatfield, historic demonstration committee chair.
The 44th Annual Applebutter Festival officially returns this Sunday, running from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Organizers say they could still use plenty of volunteer help.
"If you want to volunteer, if you want to help, come out Saturday morning at 8:30 here in the town park. Come out Sunday at 5 p.m. to help tear down the festival. Volunteers have been in short supply this year, so if you want to help reach out to us or just show up and we would love to see you," said Hatfield.
Parking is $15 at one of the five official parking lots, with a free courtesy shuttle to the festival.